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Acute intoxication with large doses of ammonia leads to rapid death. The main mechanism for ammonia elimination in brain is its reaction with glutamate to form glutamine. This reaction is catalyzed by glutamine synthetase and consumes ATP. In the course of studies on the molecular mechanism of acute ammonia toxicity, we have found that glutamine synthetase(More)
Hepatic encephalopathy is a complex neuropsychiatric syndrome present in patients with chronic or acute liver disease. We review here some recent advances in the study, in animal models, of the mechanisms involved in the impairment in intellectual function in hepatic encephalopathy. These studies show that the function of the glutamate-nitric oxide-cGMP(More)
The aim of this work was to assess whether ammonia concentrations similar to the increase found in the brain of hyperammonemic rats (100 microM), impair N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-mediated signal transduction. We first measured glutamate neurotoxicity, which in these neurons is mediated by activation of NMDA receptors, as an initial parameter(More)
Patients with hepatic encephalopathy (HE) may present different neurological alterations including impaired cognitive function and altered motor activity and coordination. HE may lead to coma and death. Many of these neurological alterations are the consequence of altered neurotransmission. Hyperammonemia is a main contributor to the alterations in(More)
Intellectual function is impaired in patients with hyperammonemia and hepatic encephalopathy. Chronic hyperammonemia with or without liver failure impairs the glutamate-nitric oxide-cGMP pathway function in brain in vivo and reduces extracellular cGMP in brain as well as the ability of rats to learn a Y maze conditional discrimination task. We hypothesized(More)
Patients with liver diseases (e.g. cirrhosis) may present hepatic encephalopathy (HE), an alteration in cerebral function which is a consequence of previous failure of liver function. Patients with minimal or clinical HE present different levels of cognitive impairment. Hyperammonemia is considered a main contributor to the neurological alterations in HE.(More)
Patients with hepatic encephalopathy show altered motor function, psychomotor slowing, and hypokinesia, which are reproduced in rats with portacaval shunts (PCS). Increased extracellular glutamate in substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr) is responsible for hypokinesia in PCS rats. The mechanisms by which liver failure leads to increased extracellular(More)
BACKGROUND/AIMS Patients with hepatic encephalopathy show altered motor function, psychomotor slowing and hypokinesia. The underlying mechanisms remain unclear. This work's aims were: (1) to analyse in rats with chronic liver failure due to portacaval shunt (PCS) the neurochemical alterations in the basal ganglia-thalamus-cortex circuits; (2) to correlate(More)
One of the neurological complications in hepatic encephalopathy is the impairment of motor coordination and function. Clinical signs of basal ganglia, cortico-spinal and cerebellar dysfunction have been commonly detected in these patients. We are studying the molecular bases of the alterations in motor coordination and function in hepatic encephalopathy.(More)
The aim of this work was to assess whether nicotine prevents glutamate neurotoxicity in primary cultures of cerebellar neurons, to try to identify the receptor mediating the protective effect and to shed light on the step of the neurotoxic process which is prevented by nicotine. It is shown that nicotine prevents glutamate and NMDA neurotoxicity in primary(More)