Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by progressive impairment of learning, memory, and cognitive deficits. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system and plays an important role in learning, memory, and cognition. The homeostasis and reutilization of glutamate are dependent on astrocytic uptake by glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1) and the subsequent glutamate-glutamine cycle. Increasing evidence showed impairments in GLT-1 expression and uptake activity and glutamate-glutamine cycle in AD. Ceftriaxone (Cef) has been reported to upregulate the expression and uptake of GLT-1. Therefore, the present study was undertaken to explore whether Cef can improve cognitive deficits of APP/PS1 mice in early stage of AD by upregulating GLT-1 expression, and then promoting the glutamate-glutamine cycle. It was shown that Cef treatment significantly alleviated the cognitive deficits measured by Morris water maze test and upregulated GLT-1 protein expression in the hippocampus of APP/PS1 mice. Particularly, the activity of glutamine synthetase (GS) and the protein expression of system N glutamine transporter 1 (SN1), which are the key factors involved in the glutamate-glutamine cycle, were significantly upregulated as well after the Cef treatment. Furthermore, inhibition of GLT-1 uptake activity by dihydrokainic acid, an inhibitor of GLT-1, blocked the Cef-induced improvement on the cognitive deficits, GS activity, and SN1 expression. The above results suggested that Cef could improve cognitive deficits of APP/PS1 mice in early stage of AD by upregulating the GLT-1 expression, GS activity, and SN1 expression, which would lead to stimulating the glutamate-glutamine cycle.