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Neuroscience. 1990;34(2):273-80.

The contribution of the non-N-methyl-D-aspartate group of excitatory amino acid receptors to retinogeniculate transmission in the cat.

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  • 1Department of Visual Science, Institute of Ophthalmology, London, U.K.


The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist 3-((+/-)-2-carboxypiperazin-4-yl)-propyl-1-phosphonic acid and the non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist, 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione have been iontophoretically applied to cells in the cat dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus and their effects on the visual response compared. The objective was to examine the possibility of both N-methyl-D-aspartate and non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors being involved in the transfer of the retinal input to X and Y cells in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. The results show that selective blockade of either N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors or non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors can block the visual response of both X and Y cells. Overall, the most potent reductions of visual responses across the population of cells studied were obtained with the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist with X cells showing a slightly greater reduction on average (80%) than Y cells (66%). The relatively smaller overall reductions in visual responses obtained with the non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor blockade reflected the lower levels of blockade that were compatible with selectivity using iontophoretic applications of 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione. It is concluded that N-methyl-D-aspartate and non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors are critically involved in the visual response of both "on" and "off" centre X and Y cells.

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