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Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2000 Sep;2(3):219-32.

NMDA receptor function, memory, and brain aging.

Author information

1
Departement of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, Mo, USA.

Abstract

An increasing level of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor hypofunction within the brain is associated with memory and learning impairments, with psychosis, and ultimately with excitotoxic brain injury. As the brain ages, the NMDA receptor system becomes progressively hypofunctional, contributing to decreases in memory and learning performance. In those individuals destined to develop Alzheimer's disease, other abnormalities (eg, amyloidopathy and oxidative stress) interact to increase the NMDA receptor hypofunction (NRHypo) burden. In these vulnerable individuals, the brain then enters into a severe and persistent NRHypo state, which can lead to widespread neurodegeneration with accompanying mental symptoms and further cognitive deterioration. If the hypotheses described herein prove correct, treatment implications may be considerable. Pharmacological methods for preventing the overstimulation of vulnerable corticolimbic pyramidal neurons developed in an animal model may be applicable to the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

KEYWORDS:

Alzheimer's disease; NMDA receptor; NMDA receptor hypofunction; brain aging; memory

PMID:
22034391
PMCID:
PMC3181613

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