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Gateways For Glutamate Neuroprotection In Parkinson’s Disease (PD): Essential Role Of EAAT3 And NCX1 Revealed In An In Vitro Model Of PD

Silvia Piccirillo, Simona Magi, Alessandra Preziuso, Pasqualina Castaldo, Salvatore Amoroso, Vincenzo Lariccia

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Increasing evidence suggests that metabolic alterations may be etiologically linked to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD) and in particular empathizes the possibility of targeting mitochondrial dysfunctions to improve PD progression. Under different pathological conditions (i.e., cardiac and neuronal ischemia/reperfusion injury), we showed that supplementation of energetic substrates like glutamate exerts a protective role by preserving mitochondrial functions and enhancing ATP synthesis through a mechanism involving the Na+-dependent excitatory amino acid transporters (EAATs) and the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX). In this study, we investigated whether a similar approach aimed at promoting glutamate metabolism would be also beneficial against cell damage in an in vitro PD-like model. In retinoic acid (RA)-differentiated SH-SY5Y cells challenged with α-synuclein (α-syn) plus rotenone (Rot), glutamate significantly improved cell viability by increasing ATP levels, reducing oxidative damage and cytosolic and mitochondrial Ca2+ overload. Glutamate benefits were strikingly lost when either EAAT3 or NCX1 expression was knocked down by RNA silencing. Overall, our results open the possibility of targeting EAAT3/NCX1 functions to limit PD pathology by simultaneously favoring glutamate uptake and metabolic use in dopaminergic neurons.