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FASEB J. 2007 Jul;21(9):2033-41. Epub 2007 Mar 9.

D-cycloserine improves functional recovery and reinstates long-term potentiation (LTP) in a mouse model of closed head injury.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, POB 12065, Jerusalem 91120, Israel.


Traumatic brain injury triggers a massive glutamate efflux, activation of NMDA receptor channels, and cell death. Recently, we reported that NMDA receptors in mice are down-regulated from hours to days following closed head injury (CHI), and treatment with NMDA improved recovery of motor and cognitive functions up to 14 d post-injury. Here we show that a single injection of a low dose of D-cycloserine (DCS), a partial NMDA receptor agonist, in CHI mice 24 h post-injury, resulted in a faster and greater recovery of motor and memory functions as assessed by neurological severity score and object recognition tests, respectively. Moreover, DCS treatment of CHI mice led to a significant improvement of hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region that was completely blunted in CHI control mice. However, DCS did not improve CHI-induced impairment in synaptic glutamate release measured by paired pulse facilitation (PPF) ratio in hippocampal CA1 region. Finally, CHI-induced reduction of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was fully restored following DCS treatment. Since DCS is in clinical use for other indications, the present study offers a novel approach to treat human brain injury.

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