System xc- is a plasma membrane amino acid antiporter, of mainly glial origin, that couples the import of cystine with the export of glutamate. System xc- (specific subunit xCT) contributes substantially to ambient extracellular glutamate levels in various regions of the brain, including the striatum and hippocampus. Despite the fact that system xc- is highly expressed in the brain and is a proposed therapeutic target for various neurological disorders, its function under physiological conditions in the central nervous system remains poorly understood. By acting as a source of glial extrasynaptic glutamate, system xc- might modulate synaptic transmission as a mechanism of neuro-glial communication. Previous electrophysiological findings indicate that system xc- delivered glutamate can inhibit excitatory synaptic neurotransmission in the corticoaccumbens pathway and at hippocampal CA3-CA1 synapses. To gain further insight into the proposed function of system xc- as modulator of synaptic transmission we here focus on corticostriatal synapses.
- System xc-