Neurobiology of glycine transporters: from molecules to behavior


  • B.L. Marques
  • O.C. Oliveira-Lima
  • G.A. Carvalho
  • R. de Almeida Chiarelli
  • R.I. Ribeiro
  • R.C. Parreira
  • E.M. da Madeira Freitas
  • R.R. Resende
  • F. Klempin
  • H. Ulrich
  • R.S. Gomez
  • M.C.X. Pinto


  • Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews


  • Neurosci Biobehav Rev 118: 97-110


  • Glycine transporters (GlyTs) are Na(+)/Cl--dependent neurotransmitter transporters, responsible for L-glycine uptake into the central nervous system. GlyTs are members of the solute carrier family 6 (SLC6) and comprise glycine transporter type 1 (SLC6A9; GlyT1) and glycine transporter type 2 (SLC6A5; Glyt2). GlyT1 and GlyT2 are expressed on both astrocytes and neurons, but their expression pattern in brain tissue is foremost related to neurotransmission. GlyT2 is markedly expressed in brainstem, spinal cord and cerebellum, where it is responsible for glycine uptake into glycinergic and GABAergic terminals. GlyT1 is abundant in neocortex, thalamus and hippocampus, where it is expressed in astrocytes, and involved in glutamatergic neurotransmission. Consequently, inhibition of GlyT1 transporters can modulate glutamatergic neurotransmission through NMDA receptors, suggesting an alternative therapeutic strategy. In this review, we focus on recent progress in the understanding of GlyTs role in brain function and in various diseases, such as epilepsy, hyperekplexia, neuropathic pain, drug addiction, schizophrenia, beta-thalassemia and stroke, as well as in neurodegenerative disorders.