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J Histochem Cytochem. 1990 Dec;38(12):1725-31.

Influence of age on NMDA receptor complex in rat brain studied by in vitro autoradiography.

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  • 1Division of Health Sciences, University of the Air, Chiba, Japan.


N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are known to play an important role in learning and memory and to be involved in neuron cell death accompanying cerebral ischemia, seizures, and Alzheimer's disease. The NMDA receptor complex has been considered to consist of an L-glutamate recognition site, a strychnine-insensitive glycine modulatory site, and a voltage-dependent cation channel. In the present study, effects of age on an L-glutamate recognition site and a glycine site were examined in rat brain by quantitative in vitro autoradiography with [3H]-CPP and [3H]-glycine. Both [3H]-glycine and [3H]-CPP binding sites were most abundant in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, and they showed a similar distribution pattern throughout the brain. [3H]-glycine binding sites were severely decreased in the telencephalic regions, including the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, in aged brain. Conversely, [3H]-CPP binding sites were well preserved in these brain areas. In the mid-brain regions and cerebellum, neither [3H]-glycine nor [3H]-CPP binding sites changed in the aged brain. Our results indicate that within the NMDA receptor complex, glycine receptors are primarily affected in the aging process.

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