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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Feb 24;101(8):2596-600.

Potentiation of NMDA receptor currents by dopamine D1 receptors in prefrontal cortex.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.


Interactions between dopamine and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) in prefrontal cortex (PFC) and other brain regions are believed to play an important role in normal mental function and neuropsychiatric disorders. In this study, we examined the regulation of NMDAR currents by the dopamine D1 receptor in PFC pyramidal neurons. Application of the D1 receptor agonist SKF81297 caused a prominent increase of the steady-state NMDA-evoked current in acutely isolated PFC pyramidal neurons. The D1 effect on NMDARs was independent of protein kinase A or protein phosphatase 1, but was abolished by incubation of neurons in Ca2+-free medium. Intracellular application of the Ca2+ chelator, calmodulin, or calmodulin inhibitors largely prevented the D1 modulation of NMDAR currents. Moreover, inhibiting PKC activity or disrupting PKC association with its anchoring protein also significantly reduced the D1 effect on NMDAR currents. This upregulation of NMDAR activity by dopamine D1 receptors and the previous finding on up-regulation of dopamine D1 receptors by NMDAR activation provide a cellular mechanism for the reciprocal interactions between D1 and NMDARs. These interactions may play an important role in modulating synaptic plasticity and thus in cognitive and emotional processes.

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