Abstract Glutamate transport (GluT) in brain is mediated chiefly by two transporters GLT and GLAST, both driven by ionic gradients generated by (Na?, K?)-dependent ATPase (Na?/K?-ATPase). GLAST is located in astrocytes and its function is regulated by translocations from cytoplasm to plasma membrane in the presence of GluT substrates. The phenomenon is blocked by a naturally occurring toxin rottlerin. We have recently suggested that rottlerin acts by inhibiting Na?/K?-ATPase. We now report that Na?/K?-ATPase inhibitors digoxin and ouabain also blocked the redistribution of GLAST in cultured astrocytes, however, neither of the compounds caused detectable inhibition of ATPase activity in cell-free astrocyte homogenates (rottlerin inhibited app. 80% of Pi production from ATP in the astrocyte homogenates,
IC50 = 25 lM). Therefore, while we may not have established a direct link between GLAST regulation and
Na?/K?-ATPase activity we have shown that both ouabain and digoxin can interfere with GluT transport and therefore should be considered potentially neurotoxic.