1. The synthesis and efflux of N-acetyl-l-aspartate from brain mitochondria of rats of different ages has been studied. 2. Brain mitochondrial State 3 (+ADP) respiration rate, using 10mm-glutamate and 2.5mm-malate as substrates, increases during the suckling period and reaches approx. 50% of the adult value at 17 days after birth [adult State 3 respiration rate=160±7ng-atoms of O/min per mg of mitochondrial protein(mean±s.d.; n=3)]. 3. The influence of 5mm-pyruvate or 10mm-dl-3-hydroxybutyrate on aspartate efflux from brain mitochondira from rats of different ages oxidizing glutamate and malate was studied. In all cases the aspartate efflux in State 3 was greater than in State 4, but, whereas the aspartate efflux in State 3 increased as the animals developed, that of State 4 showed only a small increase. However, the rate of aspartate efflux in the presence of pyruvate or 3-hydroxybutyrate as well as glutamate and malate was approx. 60–65% of that in the presence of glutamate and malate alone. 4. An inverse relationship between aspartate efflux and N-acetylaspartate efflux was observed with adult rat brain mitochondria oxidizing 10mm-glutamate and 2.5mm-malate in the presence of various pyruvate concentrations (0–5mm). 5. N-Acetylaspartate efflux by brain mitochondria of rats of different ages was studied in States 3 and 4, utilizing 5mm-pyruvate or 10mm-dl-3-hydroxybutyrate as acetyl-CoA sources. A similar pattern of increase during development was seen in State 3 for N-acetylaspartate efflux as for aspartate efflux (see point 3 above). Also only very small increases in N-acetylaspartate efflux occurred during development in State 4.6. Rat brain mitochondria in the presence of iso-osmotic N-acetylaspartate showed some swelling which was markedly increased in the presence of malate. 7. It is concluded that N-acetylaspartate may be synthesized and exported from both neonatal and adult rat brain mitochondria. It is proposed that the N-acetylaspartate is transported by the dicarboxylic acid translocase and may be an additional mechanism for mitochondrial/cytosolic carbon transport to that of citrate.
- © 1979 London: The Biochemical Society