1. The pathway of glutamate metabolism in non-synaptic rat brain mitochondria was investigated by measuring glutamate, aspartate and ammonia concentrations and oxygen uptakes in mitochondria metabolizing glutamate or glutamine under various conditions. 2. Brain mitochondria metabolizing 10mm-glutamate in the absence of malate produce aspartate at 15nmol/min per mg of protein, but no detectable ammonia. If amino-oxyacetate is added, the aspartate production is decreased by 80% and ammonia production is now observed at a rate of 6.3nmol/min per mg of protein. 3. Brain mitochondria metabolizing glutamate at various concentrations (0–10mm) in the presence of 2.5mm-malate produce aspartate at rates that are almost stoicheiometric with glutamate disappearance, with no detectable ammonia production. In the presence of amino-oxyacetate, although the rate of aspartate production is decreased by 75%, ammonia production is only just detectable (0.3nmol/min per mg of protein). 4. Brain mitochondria metabolizing 10mm-glutamine and 2.5mm-malate in States 3 and 4 were studied by using glutamine as a source of intramitochondrial glutamate without the involvement of mitochondrial translocases. The ammonia production due to the oxidative deamination of glutamate produced from the glutamine was estimated as 1nmol/min per mg of protein in State 3 and 3nmol/min per mg of protein in State 4. 5. Brain mitochondria metabolizing 10mm-glutamine in the presence of 1mm-amino-oxyacetate under State-3 conditions in the presence or absence of 2.5mm-malate showed no detectable aspartate production. In both cases, however, over the first 5min, ammonia production from the oxidative deamination of glutamate was 21–27nmol/min per mg of protein, but then decreased to approx. 1–1.5nmol/min per mg. 6. It is concluded that the oxidative deamination of glutamate by glutamate dehydrogenase is not a major route of metabolism of glutamate from either exogenous or endogenous (glutamine) sources in rat brain mitochondria.

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