Glutamate release from microglia via glutamate transporter is enhanced by amyloid-beta peptide

M. Noda, H. Nakanishi, N. Akaike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


In the present study, we found that amyloid-β peptide enhanced glutamate release from primary cultured rat microglia via the Na+-dependent glutamate transporter, which was activated by extracellular K+. Glutamate transport current was measured by a conventional whole-cell patch recording mode under voltage-clamp conditions. With the pipette solution containing 10 mM glutamate and 100 mM Na+, an increase of the external K+ concentration from 0 to 10 mM evoked an outward current, resulting from co-extrusion of glutamate and Na+. The inward current, reflecting forward glutamate transport, was also activated by external glutamate. Both these reverse and forward glutamate transport currents were three-fold greater in microglia incubated with a relatively low concentration of amyloid-β peptide (25-35) (5 μM) for four days. The glutamate-activated inward current was blocked by D,L-threo-β-hydroxyaspartate in a dose-dependent manner (ranging from 0.001 to 1 mM), but not by a high concentration of kainate (1 mM). The glutamate concentration released from microglia upon high-K+ stimulation was also significantly increased (up to 170 μM) after treatment with amyloid-β peptide (25-35). These results suggest that, at the pathological sites where extracellular K+ concentration may increase, the activation of microglia by amyloid-β peptide causes an increase in extracellular glutamate concentration via reverse glutamate transporter, and therefore this mechanism may contribute to the pathogenesis of neuronal dysfunction and death in Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1465-1474
Number of pages10
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


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