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Exp Brain Res. 1988;69(2):407-16.

Actions of excitatory amino acid antagonists on geniculo-cortical transmission in the cat's visual cortex.

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Department of Neurophysiology, Osaka University Medical School, Kitaku, Japan.


To test the possibility that glutamate and aspartate are transmitters at geniculo-cortical synapses and to elucidate which type of receptors for the excitatory amino acids (EAA) operate at these synapses, we studied effects of microiontophoretic administration of EAA antagonists on the responses of visual cortical neurons to afferent electrical and visual stimulation in the cat. The antagonists used were kynurenate, a non-selective antagonist for all classes of EAA receptors and 2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (APV), a selective antagonist for N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-preferring receptors. The administration of kynurenate suppressed responses elicited by electrical stimulation of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and optic chiasm (OX) of 65% of the cells tested. This suppression was more marked for the short-latency responses which were evoked monosynaptically from the LGN, than for the longer-latency responses. In contrast with the effectiveness of kynurenate, APV failed to suppress electrically and visually elicited responses in 66% of the cortical cells. Such differences between kynurenate and APV were particularly prominent in layers IV and VI, which receive direct inputs from the LGN, but were less marked or were not recognizable in layers II + III and V. These results support previous suggestions that EAAs may be excitatory transmitters in the cerebral cortex, at least at geniculo-cortical synapses, and indicate further that EAA receptors of the "non-NMDA type" may be involved in afferent synaptic transmission in the cat's visual cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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