Glutamate neurotoxicity, oxidative stress and mitochondria

FEBS Lett. 2001 May 18;497(1):1-5. doi: 10.1016/s0014-5793(01)02437-1.


The excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate plays a major role in determining certain neurological disorders. This situation, referred to as 'glutamate neurotoxicity' (GNT), is characterized by an increasing damage of cell components, including mitochondria, leading to cell death. In the death process, reactive oxygen species (ROS) are generated. The present study describes the state of art in the field of GNT with a special emphasis on the oxidative stress and mitochondria. In particular, we report how ROS are generated and how they affect mitochondrial function in GNT. The relationship between ROS generation and cytochrome c release is described in detail, with the released cytochrome c playing a role in the cell defense mechanism against neurotoxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / pathology
  • Cytochrome c Group / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism*
  • Glutamic Acid / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Cytochrome c Group
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Glutamic Acid