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Peripheral Biomarkers of Excitotoxicity in Neurological Diseases

  • Lucio Tremolizzo
  • Gessica Sala
  • Carlo Ferrarese

Since the proposal that excessive glutamater-gic stimulation, also known as excitotoxicity, could be responsible for neuronal suffering and death, several studies have repeatedly confirmed the key role of this mechanism in the pathogenesis of different neurological diseases. Therefore, it is conceivable that assessing the glutamatergic function directly in patients could be extremely useful for early diagnosis, prognostic evaluation, and optimization of therapeutics interventions. For example, a possibility is offered by measuring glutamate levels directly in plasma, in patients affected by stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, and AIDS dementia complex, among other diseases. However, the possibility of directly assessing functional glutamatergic parameters, such as the amino acid reuptake in ex vivo cells following different stimuli, would probably mirror closely the actual damage operative in single patients. In this chapter our findings regarding excitotoxicity biomarkers in peripheral ex vivo cells, such as platelets and fibroblasts, will be described focusing on different neurological diseases, together with a review of the available literature.

Keywords

Excitotoxicity peripheral models glutamate neurological diseases biomarkers 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucio Tremolizzo
    • 1
  • Gessica Sala
    • 2
  • Carlo Ferrarese
    • 3
  1. 1.Neurologist and Post-doctoral Research AssociateUniversity of Milano-Bicocca; Ospedale San GerardoMonzaItaly
  2. 2.Post-doctoral Research Associate, Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical TechnologiesUniversity of Milano-BicoccaItaly
  3. 3.Director of the Department of Neurology and of the Neurology Residency SchoolUniversity of Milano-Bicocca, Ospedale San GerardoMonzaItaly

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