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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Sep 25;98(20):11055-61.

Zinc induces a Src family kinase-mediated up-regulation of NMDA receptor activity and excitotoxicity.

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  • 1Center for the Study of Nervous System Injury and Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63105, USA.


Zinc is coreleased with glutamate from excitatory nerve terminals throughout the central nervous system and acutely inhibits N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activation. Here we report that cultured murine cortical neurons briefly exposed to sublethal concentrations of zinc developed increased intracellular free Na(+), phosphorylation of Src kinase at tyrosine 220, and tyrosine phosphorylation of NMDA receptor 2A/2B subunits, in a fashion sensitive to the Src family kinase inhibitor 4-amino-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-7-(t-butyl)pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine, PP2. Functionally, this zinc exposure produced a delayed increase in NMDA receptor current in perforated patch but not conventional whole-cell recordings, as well as an increase in NMDA receptor-mediated cell death. These observations suggest that the effect of synaptically released zinc on neuronal NMDA receptors may be biphasic: acute block, followed by Src family kinase-mediated up-regulation of NMDA receptor activity and cytotoxicity.

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