Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 1170-1181

First online:

Protection from Glutamate-Induced Excitotoxicity by Memantine

  • Melinda K. KutzingAffiliated withDepartment of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers UniversityGraduate Program in Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University
  • , Vincent LuoAffiliated withDepartment of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers University
  • , Bonnie L. FiresteinAffiliated withDepartment of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers UniversityDepartment of Biomedical Engineering, Rutgers University Email author 

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This study investigates whether the uncompetitive N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptor antagonist, memantine, is able to protect dissociated cortical neurons from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity (GIE). Treatment with glutamate resulted in a significant loss of synchronization of neuronal activity as well as a significant increase in the duration of synchronized bursting events (SBEs). By administering memantine at the same time as glutamate, we were able to completely prevent these changes to the neuronal activity. Pretreatment with memantine was somewhat effective in preventing changes to the culture synchronization but was unable to fully protect the synchronization of electrical activity between neurons that showed high levels of synchronization prior to injury. Additionally, memantine pretreatment was unable to prevent the increase in the duration of SBEs caused by GIE. Thus, the timing of memantine treatment is important for conferring neuroprotection against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. Finally, we found that GIE leads to a significant increase in the burst duration. Our data suggest that this may be due to an alteration in the inhibitory function of the neurons.


Microelectrode array Memantine NMDA receptor antagonist Traumatic brain injury Glutamate Excitotoxicity