Glutamate-induced excitotoxicity is involved in many neurological diseases. Preso, a novel postsynaptic scaffold protein, mediates excitatory synaptic transmission and various synaptic functions. In this study, we investigated the role of Preso in the regulation of glutamate-induced excitotoxicity in rat cortical neurons. Knockdown of Preso with small interfering RNA improved neuronal viability and attenuated the elevation of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release after glutamate treatment. Downregulation of Preso also inhibited an increase in the BAX/Bcl-2 ratio and cleavage of caspase-9 and caspase-3. Although the expression and distribution of metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) 1/5, NR1, NR2A and NR2B were not changed by knockdown of Preso, downregulation of Preso protected neurons from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity by inhibiting mGluR and N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor function. However, downregulation of Preso neither affected the expression of GluR1 and GluR2 nor influenced the function of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate receptor after glutamate treatment. Furthermore, intracellular Ca2+ was an important downstream effector of Preso in the regulation of excitotoxicity. These results suggest that expression of Preso promotes the induction of excitotoxicity by facilitating different glutamate receptor signaling pathways. Therefore, Preso might be a potential pharmacological target for preventing and treating neurological diseases.