Pharmacological enhancement of glutamate transport reduces excitotoxicity in vitro

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24 Scopus citations


Purpose: Glutamate transporters are responsible for removing glutamate from the extracellular space and have the potential to protect neurons from excitotoxicity. In the present study, the effects of ceftriaxone and (2R, 4R)-APDC (APDC) on the protein expression of GLAST and GLT-1, the rate of glutamate uptake, and neuroprotection were evaluated in a cell culture model of glutamate excitotoxicity. Methods: Mixed neuron/astrocyte cultures were prepared from 1 day old rat pups. Protein levels of GLAST and GLT-1 glutamate transporters were quantified using In-Cell Western techniques after acute or 5-day treatment with either ceftriaxone or APDC. Glutamate uptake was measured using Michaelis-Menten kinetics to evaluate the effects of 5-day treatment with ceftriaxone or APDC. Neuronal cell death in response to a 10-minute 1 mM glutamate challenge was measured following 5-day treatment with either ceftriaxone or APDC. Results: Five-day treatment with 100 μM ceftriaxone significantly increased both GLAST and GLT-1 protein levels 31.3% and 47.5% above control, respectively, increased the V max 29.3%, increased the K m of glutamate uptake 117.9%, and reduced neuronal death 22.0% after a 1 mM glutamate challenge. Five-day treatment with 1 mM APDC significantly increased GLAST protein levels 27.6%, increased the V max 92.4%, increased the K m of glutamate transport 118.9%, and decreased neuronal death 36.8% after a 1 mM glutamate challenge. Conclusions: Chronic treatment with ceftriaxone or APDC provided neuroprotection from glutamate excitotoxicity while increasing GLAST and GLT-1 protein levels and increasing glutamate uptake. These compounds may have therapeutic potential in chronic excitotoxic neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-346
Number of pages16
JournalRestorative Neurology and Neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2011



  • ceftriaxone
  • group II mGluR
  • neurodegeneration
  • Pharmacology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology

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