Glutamate was previously shown to enhance aerobic glycolysis i.e. increase glucose utilization and lactate production with no change in oxygen levels, in mouse cortical astrocytes by a mechanism involving glutamate uptake. It is reported here that a similar response is produced in both hippocampal and cerebellar astrocytes. Application of the cognitive-enhancing drug CX546 promoted further enhancement of glucose utilization by astrocytes from each brain area following glutamate exposure. alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors represent the purported molecular target of cognitive-enhancing drugs such as CX546, and the presence of AMPA receptor subunits GluR1-4 was evidenced in astrocytes from all three regions by immunocytochemistry. AMPA itself did not stimulate aerobic glycolysis, but in the presence of CX546, a strong enhancement of glucose utilization and lactate production was obtained in cortical, hippocampal and cerebellar astrocytes. The effect of CX546 was concentration-dependent, with an EC(50) of 93.2 microm in cortical astrocytes. AMPA-induced glucose utilization in the presence of CX546 was prevented by the AMPA receptor antagonist 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) and the negative modulator GYKI 52466. In addition, the metabolic effect of CX546 in the presence of AMPA was mimicked by the AMPA receptor modulator cyclothiazide. Our data suggest that astrocyte energetics represents a novel target for cognitive-enhancing drugs acting as AMPA receptor modulators.