Opposing effects of transforming growth factor-beta 1 on glutamate neurotoxicity

Neuroscience. 1994 May;60(1):7-10. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(94)90198-8.


Activation of microglia has been emphasized as a critical step in the pathophysiology of degenerative and inflammatory processes of the CNS. Activated microglia release low molecular weight compounds, such as excitatory amino acids, that are directly toxic to neurons. Here we demonstrate that a microglia-derived cytokine, transforming growth factor-beta 1, directly alters the susceptibility of neurons to glutamate-induced cell damage. Transforming growth factor-beta 1 acts as a neuroprotectant following short-term exposure to glutamate, whereas, following chronic exposure to glutamate, similar concentrations of transforming growth factor-beta 1 actually potentiate excitotoxic cell death. This complex interaction may play an important role in determining the extent of local tissue damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chick Embryo
  • Drug Interactions
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists*
  • Glutamates / toxicity
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / pharmacology*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Glutamates
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Glutamic Acid