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Brain Res. 1991 May 3;547(2):229-38.

Retinogeniculate transmission by NMDA and non-NMDA receptors in the cat.

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  • 1Abteilung für Neurophysiologie, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, F.R.G.


The contributions of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptors to retinogeniculate transmission were investigated in the cat. The EAA antagonists 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (APV) and kynurenic acid (KYN) were used to block the NMDA receptors and all EAA receptors, respectively. Antagonistic effects on the visual response were assessed with single On/Off stimuli of 2 s duration or repetitive flicker stimulation (5 Hz) with a light spot projected onto the receptive field center. With APV, the NMDA response could be almost completely abolished but the visual response to repetitive stimulation was reduced on average by only 34%. Initial (transient) components of the single flash response were attenuated on average by 23%, the residual (sustained) component by 48%. With KYN the responses to NMDA, quisqualate (QUIS) and glutamate (GLU) were abolished or strongly reduced as was the visual response to flicker (mean 58%) and single flash stimulation (mean transient 73%, sustained 90%). Prolonged iontophoretic applications of the agonists GLU, QUIS and NMDA revealed receptor desensitization or competitive interactions with the naturally released transmitter in a dose-dependent manner. When the responses to any of the 3 agonists declined during continuous application, superimposed visual responses were clearly reduced in amplitude. Visual response amplitudes were also reduced when superimposed on steady state QUIS responses but unchanged in amplitude when superimposed on steady state NMDA responses. In conclusion, non-NMDA as well as NMDA receptors seem to participate in cat retinogeniculate transmission. Non-NMDA receptors appear to be most important for the initial component but can also maintain the visual response, while the NMDA receptors seem to be more effective during the later component of the response.

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