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Glutamate kills neuronal cells by either a receptor-mediated pathway or the inhibition of cystine uptake, the "oxidative pathway." Antioxidants can block cell death initiated by either pathway, suggesting that toxicity is dependent on the production of free radicals. We provide evidence that in a neuronal cell line, glutamate toxicity via the oxidative pathway requires monoamine metabolism as a source of free radicals. Glutamate toxicity is inhibited by monoamine oxidase (MAO) type-A-specific inhibitors, but only at concentrations much higher than those required to inhibit classical type-A MAO. Toxicity is not inhibited by MAO type-B-specific inhibitors at any concentration. Furthermore, treatment of cells with agents that block monoamine uptake inhibits glutamate toxicity. These results suggest that an enzyme distinct from MAO is involved in monoamine metabolism and demonstrate a relationship between glutamate toxicity and monoamine metabolism. These data also have implications for the understanding and treatment of neurodegenerative disorders in which glutamate toxicity is thought to be involved.


Journal article


J Neurosci

Publication Date





6394 - 6401


Amines, Animals, Cells, Cultured, Clorgyline, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Glutamic Acid, Mice, Mice, Inbred Strains, Monoamine Oxidase, Selegiline