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Title: N-acetylaspartate  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Multiple sclerosis, Pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis, Glutamate carboxypeptidase II
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N-Acetylaspartic acid

CAS number 997-55-7 S YesY
PubChem 65065 S YesY
ChemSpider 677387 R YesY
EC number 219-827-5
KEGG C01042 YesY
MeSH N-acetylaspartate
ChEBI CHEBI:21547 YesY
RTECS number CI9098600
Beilstein Reference 1726198 S
3DMet B00227
Jmol-3D images Image 2
Molecular formula C6H9NO5
Molar mass 175.14 g mol−1
Appearance Colourless, transparent crystals
Melting point

137-140 °C, 410-413 K, 279-284 °F

Boiling point

141-144 °C, 414-417 K, 286-291 °F

log P −2.209
Acidity (pKa) 3.142
Basicity (pKb) 10.855
S-phrases S22, S24/25
Related compounds
Related alkanoic acids
Related compounds
 N (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Infobox references

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 [2] synthesized in the mitochondria[3] of neurons 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:

  1. A neuronal osmolyte that is involved in fluid balance in the brain
  2. A source of acetate for lipid and myelin synthesis in oligodendrocytes, the glial cells that myelinate neuronal axons
  3. A precursor for the synthesis of the important neuronal dipeptide N-Acetylaspartylglutamate
  4. 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.[4] 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.

NAA may also be a marker of creativity.[5] It has also been demonstrated that high NAA level in hippocampus is related to better working memory performance in humans.[6]

See also


  • 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.
  • Biochemical Support for the "Threshold" Theory of Creativity: A Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Study, Rex E. Jung et al., April 22, 2009, 29(16):5319-5325; 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0588-09.2009

External links

  • GeneReviews/NCBI/UW/NIH entry on Canavan disease
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