High blood ammonia, as seen in severe liver disease and urea cycle disorders, is neurotoxic and difficult to treat. A new study shows that the toxic effects are caused by impaired astrocyte potassium buffering—not astrocyte swelling, as previously thought—and can be partially blocked by the diuretic bumetanide (pages 1643–1648).
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Subscribe to this journal
Receive 12 print issues and online access
$189.00 per year
only $15.75 per issue
Rent or buy this article
Get just this article for as long as you need it
Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout
Butterworth, R.F. Metab. Brain Dis. 17, 221–227 (2002).
Krebs, H.A. & Henseleit, K. Z. Phys. Chem. (N.F.) 210, 33–36 (1932).
Martinez-Hernandez, A., Bell, K.P. & Norenberg, M.D. Science 195, 1356–1358 (1977).
Albrecht, J. & Norenberg, M.D. Hepatology 44, 788–794 (2006).
Thrane, R. et al. Nat. Med. 19, 1643–1648 (2013).
Traynelis, S.F. & Dingledine, R. J. Neurophysiol. 59, 259–276 (1988).
Bordey, A. & Sontheimer, H. Epilepsy Res. 32, 286–303 (1998).
Heuser, K. et al. J. Neuropathol. Exp. Neurol. 71, 814–825 (2012).
Norenberg, M.D., Jayakumar, A.R., Rama Rao, K.V. & Panickar, K.S. Metab. Brain Dis. 22, 219–234 (2007).
Blei, A.T. Hepatology 13, 376–379 (1991).
Kumar, R. et al. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 27, 1061–1068 (2008).
Pillai, U., Kahlon, R., Sondheimer, J., Cadnapaphorncai, P. & Bhat, Z. JPEN J. Parenter. Enteral Nutr. 37, 134–137 (2013).
Ben-Ari, Y., Khalilov, I., Kahle, K.T. & Cherubini, E. Neuroscientist 18, 467–486 (2012).
Dzhala, V.I. et al. Nat. Med. 11, 1205–1213 (2005).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Rights and permissions
About this article
Cite this article
Eid, T., Lee, TS. Reassessing the role of astrocytes in ammonia neurotoxicity. Nat Med 19, 1572–1574 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.3420
This article is cited by
Neurotoxicity of Ammonia
Neurochemical Research (2017)