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Altered glial function that leads to oxidative stress and excitotoxicity may contribute to the initiation or progression of neuronal death in neurodegenerative diseases. We report the pivotal role of astroglial Group II and III metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR) against neurotoxicity. Activation of Group II or III mGluR on astrocytes with selective agonists DCG-IV or L-AP4 respectively inhibited astroglial lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-conditioned medium induced apoptosis of primary cultured mesencephalic neurons. Specific Group II or III mGluR antagonists APICA or MSOP completely abolished the neuroprotective effects of DCG-IV and L-AP4. Morphologic analysis showed that DCG-IV or L-AP4 could also attenuate the astroglial neurotoxicity to dopaminergic neurons. Measurement of extracellular glutamate concentration and [3H]-glutamate uptake showed that the restoration of glutamate uptake capability in LPS-treated astrocytes might be involved in the neuroprotective effects of activating astroglial Group II or III mGluR. Furthermore, we found that the repression of astroglial uptake function could be revived by GSH, and both Group II and III mGluR agonists could recover the endogenous reduced glutathione (GSH) level in LPS-treated astrocytes. These results suggested that the possible mechanisms of neuroprotection by either Type II or Type III mGluR activation may involve restoration of endogenous GSH, in turn affording recovery of astroglial capability to take up glutamate.