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FEBS Lett. 1987 Oct 19;223(1):143-7.

Glutamate acting on NMDA receptors stimulates neurite outgrowth from cerebellar granule cells.

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Physiological Laboratory, University of Liverpool, England.


The effect of endogenous glutamate on neurite outgrowth from cerebellar granule cells in culture was examined. Neurite outgrowth was inhibited by enzymatic removal of endogenous glutamate from the culture medium. The broad-spectrum glutamate receptor antagonist kynurenate also inhibited neurite outgrowth from granule cells in serum-containing and serum-free cultures; the inhibition by kynurenate was reversed by exogenous glutamate. Neurite outgrowth was inhibited to the same extent by the NMDA receptor antagonist APV. These results indicate that endogenous glutamate, possibly released by granule cells themselves, stimulated neurite outgrowth through activation of the NMDA class of glutamate receptors. Activation of NMDA receptors on developing neurons may be an important mechanism for the regulation of neuronal growth and differentiation.

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