Mechanisms of Excitatory Amino Acid Neurotoxicity in Rat Brain Slices

  • John Garthwaite
  • Giti Garthwaite
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 268)


Excitatory amino acids (EAA), in addition to their roles in neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity, have also been implicated in a variety of neurodegenerative disorders of the central nervous system. The work of Olney and colleagues who showed that glutamate and related excitants are toxic to central neurones in vivo through acting on EAA receptors (see Olney, 1984) coupled with the realization that EAAs (glutamate in particular) are likely to be the principal excitatory transmitters in the brain, provided the key theoretical link between brain physiology and brain pathology. The most convincing experimental evidence to date that the neurotoxic action of endogenous EAAs contributes to neuronal loss in vivo is in the acute conditions of ischaemia (Simon et al., 1984a; Gill et al., 1988), hypoglycaemia (Weiloch, 1985) and trauma (Faden et al., 1989) where EAA antagonists have been shown to provide significant protection. Their involvement in more chronic conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s chorea and Parkinsonism, which are more difficult to model experimentally, is more speculative (Choi, 1988).


NMDA Receptor Granule Cell Hippocampal Slice Excitatory Amino Acid Kainic Acid 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Garthwaite
    • 1
  • Giti Garthwaite
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of LiverpoolBrownlow Hill, LiverpoolUK

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