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Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Feb;19(4):957-65.

AMPA receptor properties and coexpression with sodium-calcium exchangers in rat hypothalamic neurons.

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Department of Neurophysiology, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, POB 101007, D-40001 Düsseldorf, Germany.


The histaminergic tuberomamillary (TM) nucleus, a center for the regulation of wakefulness, is excited by glutamatergic, aminergic and peptidergic inputs. AMPA receptor properties in relation to their expression were investigated in acutely isolated TM neurons with the help of whole-cell patch-clamp recordings combined with single-cell RT-PCR. The mRNAs encoding for the AMPA receptor GluR2 (100% of the neurons) and GluR1 (75%) were the most frequently detected, followed by the mRNA for GluR4 (56%), whereas GluR3 cDNA amplification did not yield a PCR product in any neuron. Flip splice variants prevailed over flop, in keeping with a strong glutamate-response potentiation by cyclothiazide. The expression pattern of AMPA subunits in their two splice variants was correlated with the different subtypes of Na+/Ca2+ (NCX) and Na+/Ca2+/K+ (NCKX) exchangers: glutamate receptor subunits GluR1-4 displayed no coordinated pattern with NCX. However, NCKX2 mRNA occurred only in TM cells with a fast desensitizing glutamate response, where it was coexpressed with the GluR4 subunit in the flop splice variant. NCKX3 mRNA was detected in neurons with fast or slow desensitization of glutamate responses. AMPA receptors in TM neurons were Ca2+-impermeable. As reverse Na+/Ca2+ exchange contributes to the immediate rise in intracellular calcium resulting from glutamate receptor activation, we suggest that the coordinated expression of NCKX2 with the fast desensitizing AMPA receptor-type reflects either a receptor-exchanger coupling or separate mechanisms for maintaining calcium homeostasis in neurons with fast or slow glutamate responses.

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