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Mol Pharmacol. 1989 Mar;35(3):360-8.

N-methyl-D-aspartate/glycine and quisqualate/kainate receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes: antagonist pharmacology.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599.


Quantitative pharmacological studies were done to determine the properties of excitatory amino acid receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes injected with rat brain mRNA. Smooth currents with properties indicative of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and quisqualate/kainate receptors were observed in mRNA-injected oocytes. Schild analysis of currents evoked by NMDA indicated that the EAA receptor antagonist D-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (D-APV) exerted a competitive block of the oocyte NMDA receptor, because the Schild regression was linear with a slope not significantly different from unity (1.03 +/- 0.025) up to 100 microM D-APV. The pA2 estimated for D-APV antagonism of NMDA currents (5.87 +/- 0.043) was nearly identical to that for D-APV as an L-aspartate antagonist (pA2 = 5.86 +/- 0.073, slope = 0.97 +/- 0.036), suggesting that these two agonists are selective for NMDA receptors in oocytes up to concentrations well above 1 mM. 6-Nitro-7-cyano-quinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) reduced the maximum NMDA response significantly (70% reduction by 15 microM CNQX) but had no effect on the NMDA EC50. CNQX exerted a mixed competitive-noncompetitive block of the glycine site on NMDA receptors; 15 microM CNQX increased the glycine EC50 by 5-fold and reduced the maximum glycine response by 35%. In addition, CNQX exerted a potent and competitive antagonism of currents evoked by kainate. The Schild regression was linear up to 30 microM CNQX with a slope of 1.02 +/- 0.014 and a pA2 of 6.53 +/- 0.029. The block of kainate or NMDA currents by 2 microM CNQX was not voltage dependent. D-APV exerted a weak antagonism of kainate-evoked currents, with a pA2 of 3.39 +/- 0.044, but the slope of the Schild regression was slightly less than 1 (0.90 +/- 0.03). These data demonstrate a clear pharmacological distinction between receptors that mediate the kainate- and NMDA-induced currents and quantify the potency of CNQX and D-APV acting at NMDA/glycine and quisqualate/kainate receptors. The implications of these data for the identification of EAA receptors in oocytes and the classification of neuronal EAA receptors are discussed.

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