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Nature. 1986 Jul 17-23;322(6076):263-5.

Mediation of thalamic sensory input by both NMDA receptors and non-NMDA receptors.


Excitatory amino acids such as L-glutamate and L-aspartate are well established as neurotransmitter candidates in the mammalian central nervous system, and three types of receptor for these substances have been proposed, characterized by the agonists N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), kainate and quisqualate. All these receptors have been suggested to have synaptic roles in excitatory transmission in the brain. Here I demonstrate that NMDA receptors play a crucial role in the observed response of ventrobasal thalamus (VB) neurones to natural stimulation of somatosensory afferents, but do not appear to be responsible for the short-latency excitation seen on electrical stimulation of the afferents which is apparently mediated by excitatory amino-acid receptors of the non-NMDA type. This result indicates an involvement of NMDA and non-NMDA receptors in the responses of VB neurones to stimulation of somatosensory somatosensory afferents, depending on the mode of stimulation of the pathway.

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