Lithium, besides mood stabilization, might be involved in neuroprotection. Previously we have found that the treatment with lithium increased the levels of p21(WAF/Cip1 and survivin in human glioblastoma A1235 cells. The aim of the present study was to examine the cytotoxic effect of glutamate on these cells, and to determine whether lithium can protect A1235 cells against toxic effects of glutamate. Cytotoxicity of glutamate was examined by spectrophotometric MTT assay, while the expression of apoptosis related genes was examined by Western blot method. Glutamate was excessively cytotoxic for A1235 cells only in concentrations higher than 100 mM. It did not induce apoptosis, but rather suppressed survivin expression and increased the level of p21(WAf/Cip1). Pretreatment with lithium (2 mM) partially reverted change in survivin expression induced by glutamate, suggesting that lithium may have beneficial effect on glutamate induced cell damage in glioblastoma cells.