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Neurosci Lett. 1990 Aug 14;116(1-2):168-71.

A 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine oxidation product is a non-N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamatergic agonist in rat cortical neurons.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA 15261.


Applications of solutions of 2,4,5-trihydroxyphenylalanine (TOPA or 6-hydroxyDOPA) to rat cortical neurons in culture monitored under whole-cell voltage clamp with patch electrodes resulted in currents which could be nearly completely blocked by the non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (non-NMDA) antagonist 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX), but only weakly antagonized by the NMDA antagonist D.L-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (APV). Thus, TOPA can generate glutamatergic responses by interacting preferentially with non-NMDA receptors in cortical neurons. As these results show that a product closely related to the catecholamine precursor 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) has glutamatergic agonist properties, it is conceivable that catecholamine-containing brain areas may be at special risk for excitotoxic damage under certain conditions.

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