4-hydroxynonenal, a lipid peroxidation product, impairs glutamate transport in cortical astrocytes

Emmanuelle M. Blanc, Jeffrey N. Keller, Stefane Fernandez, Mark P. Mattson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Astrocytes possess plasma membrane glutamate transporters that rapidly remove glutamate from the extracellular milieu and thereby prevent excitotoxic injury to neurons. Cellular oxidative stress is increased in neural tissues in a variety of acute and chronic neurodegenerative conditions. Recent findings suggest that oxidative stress increases neuronal vulnerability to excitotoxicity and that membrane lipid peroxidation plays a key role in this process. We now report that 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE), an aldehydic product of membrane lipid peroxidation, impairs glutamate transport in cultured cortical astrocytes. Impairment of glutamate transport occurred within 1-3 h of exposure to HNE; FeSO4, an inducer of membrane lipid peroxidation, also impaired glutamate transport. Vitamin E prevented impairment of glutamate transport induced by FeSO4, but not that induced by HNE, consistent with HNE acting as an effector of lipid peroxidation-induced impairment of glutamate transport. Glutathione, which binds and thereby detoxifies HNE, prevented HNE from impairing glutamate transport. Western blot, immunoprecipitation, and immunocytochemical analyses using an antibody against HNE-protein conjugates provided evidence that HNE covalently binds to many different astrocytic proteins including the glutamate transporter GLT-1. Data further suggest that HNE promotes intermolecular cross-linking of GLT-1 monomers to form dimers. HNE also induced mitochondrial dysfunction and accumulation of peroxides in astrocytes. Impairment of glutamate transport and mitochondrial function occurred with sublethal concentrations of HNE, concentrations known to be generated in cells exposed to various oxidative insults. Collectively, our data suggest that HNE may be an important mediator of oxidative stress-induced impairment of astrocytic glutamate transport and may thereby play a role in promoting neuronal excitotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-160
Number of pages12
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cellular oxidation
  • Excitotoxicity
  • GLT-1
  • Glutathione
  • Immunoprecipitation, mitochondrial function
  • Vitamin E

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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