|Molar mass||175.14 g·mol−1|
|Appearance||Colourless, transparent crystals|
|Melting point||137 °C (279 °F; 410 K)|
|Boiling point||141 °C (286 °F; 414 K)|
Related alkanoic acids
Except where noted otherwise, data is given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
|what is: / ?)(|
N-Acetylaspartic acid, or N-acetylaspartate (NAA), is a derivative of aspartic acid with a formula of C6H9NO5 and a molecular weight of 175.139.
NAA is the second-most-concentrated molecule in the brain after the amino acid glutamate. It is detected in the adult brains only in neurons, and is synthesized in the mitochondria from the amino acid aspartic acid and acetyl-coenzyme A. The various functions served by NAA are still under investigation, but the primary proposed functions include its being:
- A neuronal osmolyte that is involved in fluid balance in the brain
- A source of acetate for lipid and myelin synthesis in oligodendrocytes, the glial cells that myelinate neuronal axons
- A precursor for the synthesis of the important neuronal dipeptide N-Acetylaspartylglutamate
- A contributor to energy production from the amino acid glutamate in neuronal mitochondria.
In the brain, NAA is thought to be present predominantly in neuronal cell bodies, where it acts as a neuronal marker. NAA gives off the largest signal in magnetic resonance spectroscopy of the human brain, and the levels measured there are decreased in numerous neuropathological conditions ranging from brain injury to stroke to Alzheimer's disease. This fact makes NAA a reliable diagnostic molecule for doctors treating patients with brain damage or disease.
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- N-Acetylaspartate: A Unique Neuronal Molecule in the Central Nervous System, eds., J.R.Moffett, S.B.Tieman, D.R.Weinberger, J.T.Coyle, and M.A.Namboodiri, pp. 7–26. New York, NY: Springer Science + Business Media, 2006.
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