Welcome to the research laboratory of Angela Ruban

Along with aspartate, glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. Glutamate binds and activates both ligand-gated ion channels (ionotropic glutamate receptors) and a class of G-protein coupled receptors (metabotropic glutamate receptors). Although the intracellular glutamate concentration in the brain is in the millimolar range, the extracellular glutamate concentration is kept in the low micromolar range by the action of excitatory amino acid transporters that import glutamate and aspartate into astrocytes and neurons. Forty years of data have consistently shown that high levels of extracellular glutamate in the brain can damage and kill neurons. Recognition of this phenomenon (“excitotoxicity”) spawned intensive research in the fields of neurodegenerative and maligning diseases (e.g., ALS, Glioblastoma, Melanoma and etc.) which discovered that a high level of extracellular glutamate in the brain leads to an overload of intracellular calcium resulting in the death of neurons. Subsequently, a theory of chronic excitotoxicity was proposed to mediate the neurotoxicity associated with neurodegenerative and maligning diseases.

For more information please contact Angela Ruban: angellruban@tauex.tau.ac.il