A glutamate/NMDA receptor (NMDA-R) antagonist, amantadine (AMA) exhibits a broad spectrum of clinically important properties, including antiviral, antiparkinsonian, neuroprotective, neuro-reparative and cognitive-enhancing effects. However, both clinical and pre-clinical studies have demonstrated that noncompetitive NMDA-R antagonists induce severe schizophrenia-like cognitive deficits. Therefore, this study aims to clarify the clinical discrepancy between AMA and noncompetitive NMDA-R antagonists by comparing the effects of AMA with those of a noncompetitive NMDA-R antagonist, MK801, on rat tripartite glutamatergic synaptic transmission using microdialysis and primary cultured astrocytes. Microdialysis study demonstrated that the stimulatory effects of AMA on L-glutamate release differed from those of MK801 in the globus pallidus, entorhinal cortex and entopeduncular nucleus. The stimulatory effect of AMA on L-glutamate release was modulated by activation of cystine/glutamate antiporter (Sxc). Primary cultured astrocytes study demonstrated that AMA also enhanced glutathione synthesis via Sxc activation. Furthermore, carbon-monoxide induced damage of the astroglial glutathione synthesis system was repaired by AMA but not MK801. Additionally, glutamate/AMPA receptor (AMPA-R) antagonist, perampanel enhanced the protective effects of AMA. The findings of microdialysis and cultured astrocyte studies suggest that a combination of Sxc activation with inhibitions of ionotropic glutamate receptors contributes to neuroprotective, neuro-reparative and cognitive-enhancing activities that can mitigate several neuropsychiatric disorders.