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J Neurochem. 2008 Aug;106(4):1758-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2008.05512.x. Epub 2008 Jun 7.

NR2A-containing NMDA receptors depress glutamatergic synaptic transmission and evoked-dopamine release in the mouse striatum.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Section of Molecular Neurophysiology, The Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


NMDA receptors play essential roles in the physiology and pathophysiology of the striatum, a brain nucleus involved in motor control and reward-motivated behaviors. NMDA receptors are composed of NR1 and NR2A-D subunits. Functional properties of NMDA receptors are determined by the type of NR2 subunit they contain. In this study, we have examined the involvement of NR2B and NR2A in the modulatory effect of NMDA on glutamatergic and dopaminergic synaptic transmission in the striatum. We found that bath application of NMDA decreased the amplitude of the field excitatory post-synaptic potential/population spike (fEPSP/PS) measured in corticostriatal mouse brain slices. This depression was not affected by the NR2B-selective antagonists Ifenprodil and Ro 25-6981, but was abolished by the NR2A antagonist NVP-AAM077. Activation of corticostriatal neurons by NMDA did not contribute to synaptic depression because similar results were obtained in decorticated striatal slices. Synaptic depression was not dependent on GABA release because the GABA(A) receptor antagonist bicuculline did not affect NMDA-induced decrease of the fEPSP/PS. NMDA also depressed evoked-dopamine release through NR2A- but not NR2B-containing NMDA receptors. Our results identify an important role for NR2A-containing NMDA receptors intrinsic to the striatum in regulating glutamatergic synaptic transmission and evoked-dopamine release.

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