D-serine is an endogenous ligand for N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptors. Accumulating evidence including genetic associations of D-serine metabolism with neurological or psychiatric diseases suggest that D-serine is crucial in human neurophysiology. However, distribution and regulation of D-serine in humans are not well understood. Here, we found that D-serine is heterogeneously distributed in the human central nervous system (CNS). The cerebrum contains the highest level of D-serine among the areas in the CNS. There is heterogeneity in its distribution in the cerebrum and even within the cerebral neocortex. The neocortical heterogeneity is associated with Brodmann or functional areas but is unrelated to basic patterns of cortical layer structure or regional expressional variation of metabolic enzymes for D-serine. Such D-serine distribution may reflect functional diversity of glutamatergic neurons in the human CNS, which may serve as a basis for clinical and pharmacological studies on D-serine modulation.
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