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Future Neurol. 2012 Sep;7(5):627-637.

Aging of the NMDA receptor: from a mouse's point of view.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Healthy Aging Program, Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA ■ Tel.: +1 541 737 6923 ■ ■


Our elderly population is growing and declines in cognitive abilities, such as memory, can be costly, because it can interfere with a person's ability to live independently. The NMDA receptor is very important for many different forms of memory and this receptor is negatively affected by aging. This review examines the progress that has been made recently in characterizing selective vulnerabilities of different subunits and splice variants of the NMDA receptor to normal aging in C57BL/6 mice. Evidence is also presented for changes in the relationships of NMDA receptors to plasticity across aging. Recent interventions show that enhancing NMDA receptors in aged individuals is associated with improvements in memory, but mouse models of neurodegenerative diseases suggest that finding the right balance between too little and too much NMDA receptor activity will be the key to enhancing memory without inducing pathology.

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