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Exp Brain Res. 1991;86(2):248-56.

The involvement of excitatory amino acids in neocortical epileptogenesis: NMDA and non-NMDA receptors.

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Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Qu├ębec, Canada.


Conventional intracellular recording techniques were used to investigate the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA mediated synaptic mechanisms underlying the stimulus-induced paroxysmal depolarization shift (PDS) generated by cells in rat neocortical slices treated with bicuculline methiodide (BMI). The NMDA receptor antagonists CPP or MK-801 were ineffective in abolishing the PDS. However, both drugs were able to attenuate the late phase of the PDS and delay its time of onset. In contrast, the non-NMDA receptor blocker CNQX demonstrated potent anticonvulsant property by reducing the PDS into a depolarizing potential that was graded in nature. This CNQX-resistant depolarizing potential was readily blocked by CPP. Voltage-response analysis of the PDS indicated that the entire response (including its NMDA-mediated phase) displayed conventional voltage characteristics reminiscent of an excitatory postsynaptic potential that is mediated by non-NMDA receptors. We conclude that the activation of non-NMDA receptors is necessary and sufficient to induce epileptiform activity in the neocortex when the GABAergic inhibitory mechanism is compromised. The NMDA receptors contribute to the process of PDS amplification by prolonging the duration and reducing the latency of each epileptiform discharge. However, the participation of NMDA receptors is not essential for BMI-induced epileptogenesis, and their partial involvement in the PDS is dependent upon the integrity of the non-NMDA mediated input. The lack of NMDA-like voltage dependency observed in the PDS's late phase might reflect an uneven distribution of NMDA receptors along the cell and/or an association of this excitatory amino acid receptor subtype in the polysynaptic pathways within the neocortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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