Excitatory amino acid neurotoxicity and neurodegenerative disease

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 1990 Sep;11(9):379-87. doi: 10.1016/0165-6147(90)90184-a.


The progress over the last 30 years in defining the role of excitatory amino acids in normal physiological function and in the abnormal neuronal activity of epilepsy has been reviewed in earlier articles in this series. In the last five years it has become clear that excitatory amino acids also play a role in a wide range of neurodegenerative processes. The evidence is clearest where the degenerative process is acute, but is more controversial for slow degenerative processes. In this article Brian Meldrum and John Garthwaite review in vivo and in vitro studies of the cytotoxicity of amino acids and summarize the contribution of such toxicity to acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cricetinae
  • Humans
  • Nerve Degeneration
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*


  • Amino Acids