As Verified with the Aid of Biotinylated Spermine, the Brain Cannot Take up Polyamines from the Bloodstream Leaving It Solely Dependent on Local Biosynthesis
The importance of polyamines (PAs) for the central nervous system (CNS) is well known. Less clear, however, is where PAs in the brain are derived from. Principally, there are three possibilities: (i) intake by nutrition, release into the bloodstream, and subsequent uptake from CNS capillaries, (ii) production by parenchymatous organs, such as the liver, and again uptake from CNS capillaries, and (iii) uptake of precursors, such as arginine, from the blood and subsequent local biosynthesis of PAs within the CNS. The present investigation aimed to unequivocally answer the question of whether PAs, especially the higher ones like spermidine (SPD) and spermine (SPM), can or cannot be taken up into the brain from the bloodstream. For this purpose, a biotin-labelled analogue of spermine (B-X-SPM) was synthesized, characterized, and used to visualize its uptake into brain cells following application to acute brain slices, to the intraventricular space, or to the bloodstream. In acute brain slices there is strong uptake of B-X-SPM into protoplasmic and none in fibrous-type astrocytes. It is also taken up by neurons but to a lesser degree. Under in vivo conditions, astrocyte uptake of B-X-SPM from the brain interstitial fluid is also intense after intraventricular application. In contrast, following intracardial injection, there is no uptake from the bloodstream, indicating that the brain is completely dependent on the local synthesis of polyamines.