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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Aug 23;102(34):12230-5. Epub 2005 Aug 10.

Blockade of calcium-permeable AMPA receptors protects hippocampal neurons against global ischemia-induced death.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Transient global or forebrain ischemia induced experimentally in animals can cause selective, delayed neuronal death of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons. A striking feature is a delayed rise in intracellular free Zn(2+) in CA1 neurons just before the onset of histologically detectable cell death. Here we show that alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA)-type glutamate receptors (AMPARs) at Schaffer collateral to CA1 synapses in postischemic hippocampus exhibit properties of Ca(2+)/Zn(2+)-permeable, Glu receptor 2 (GluR2)-lacking AMPARs before the rise in Zn(2+) and cell death. At 42 h after ischemia, AMPA excitatory postsynaptic currents exhibited pronounced inward rectification and marked sensitivity to 1-naphthyl acetyl spermine (Naspm), a selective channel blocker of GluR2-lacking AMPARs. In control hippocampus, AMPA excitatory postsynaptic currents were electrically linear and relatively insensitive to Naspm. Naspm injected intrahippocampally at 9-40 h after insult greatly reduced the late rise in intracellular free Zn(2+) in postischemic CA1 neurons and afforded partial protection against ischemia-induced cell death. These results implicate GluR2-lacking AMPA receptors in the ischemia-induced rise in free Zn(2+) and death of CA1 neurons, although a direct action at the time of the rise in Zn(2+) is unproven. This receptor subtype appears to be an important therapeutic target for intervention in ischemia-induced neuronal death in humans.

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