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N-Acetylaspartate (NAA), or N-acetylaspartic acid, is a derivative of aspartic acid with a formula of C6H9NO5 and a molecular weight of 175.139.
NAA is the most concentrated molecule in the brain after the amino acid glutamate. NAA is synthesized in neurons from the amino acid aspartate and acetyl-coenzyme A. The various functions served by NAA are still under investigation, but the primary proposed functions include its being:
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.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "N-Acetylaspartate". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|