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Neuroreport. 2002 Sep 16;13(13):1667-73.

A glycine receptor antagonist, strychnine, blocked NMDA receptor activation in the neonatal mouse neocortex.

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Department of Neurochemistry, National Institute of Neuroscience, 4-1-1 Ogawahigashi, Kodaira, Tokyo 187-8502, Japan.


The NMDA receptor (NMDAR) is a Ca (2+)-permeable cation channel that plays a critical role in neural network formation during brain development. Since it is blocked in a voltage-dependent manner by extracellular Mg(2+), in order for the NMDA to be activated, the membrane must be strongly depolarized. Immature neurons in the developing neocortex can be depolarized by ligand-gated Cl(-) channels, such as the glycine receptor (GlyR) or GABA(A) receptor (GABA(A) R). We here assess the contribution of GlyRs to Ca(2+) influx via NMDARs in neonatal mouse cortical neurons. The GlyR antagonist, strychnine, was more effective in suppressing postsynaptic Ca(2+) influx than the GABA(A) R antagonist, picrotoxin, suggesting greater potentiation of NMDARs by GlyRs than by GABA(A) Rs. The GlyR, known to be endogenously activated at this stage, may play a critical role in neocortical development.

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