Glutamate transporters in platelets: EAAT1 decrease in aging and in Alzheimer's disease

Chiara Zoia, Tiziana Cogliati, Elena Tagliabue, Guido Cavaletti, Gessica Sala, Gloria Galimberti, Ilaria Rivolta, Vincenzo Rossi, Lodovico Frattola, Carlo Ferrarese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Platelets release glutamate upon activation and are an important clearance system of the amino acid from blood, through high-affinity glutamate uptake, similar to that described in brain synaptosomes. Since platelet glutamate uptake is decreased in neurodegenerative disorders, we performed a morphological and molecular characterization of platelet glutamate transporters. The three major brain glutamate transporters EAAT1, EAAT2 and EAAT3 are expressed in platelets, with similar molecular weight, although at lower density than brain. A Na+-dependent-high-affinity glutamate uptake was competitively inhibited by known inhibitors but not by dihydrokainic acid, suggesting platelet EAAT2 does not play a major role in glutamate uptake at physiological conditions. We observed decreased glutamate uptake V max, without modification of transporter affinity, in aging, which could be linked to the selective decrease of EAAT1 expression and mRNA. Moreover, in AD patients we found a further EAAT1 reduction compared to age-matched controls, which could explain the decrease of platelet uptake previously described. Platelet glutamate transporters may be used as peripheral markers to investigate the role of glutamate in patients with neuropsychiatric disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-157
Number of pages9
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


  • EAAT2
  • EAAT3
  • Excitotoxicity
  • Glutamate uptake
  • Human peripheral marker
  • Molecular characterization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)


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