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J Comp Neurol. 1994 Nov 1;349(1):85-110.

Histological and ultrastructural localization of the kainate receptor subunits, KA2 and GluR6/7, in the rat nervous system using selective antipeptide antibodies.

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Laboratory of Neurochemistry, NIDCD, NIH, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Kainate receptors are found throughout many regions of the brain and presumably contribute to responses of neurons to glutamate and other excitatory amino acids. Two affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies that recognize the kainate binding subunits, KA2 and GluR6, were made using C-terminus peptides. A previous study demonstrated that each antibody is specific for its subunit, although antibody to GluR6 recognizes GluR7 to some extent (hence the designation GluR6/7). Vibratome sections immunostained with either antibody showed light to moderate staining in many structures in the brain as well as in cervical spinal cord, dorsal root and vestibular ganglia, and pineal and pituitary glands. Moderate levels were seen in the olfactory bulb, cerebral cortex, caudate/putamen, and hypothalamus, whereas much of the thalamus was stained lightly. In the hippocampus, CA3 pyramidal cells were stained more densely than CA1 pyramidal cells--the difference more evident with antibody to GluR6/7. In addition, neuropilar staining was densest in the stratum lucidum of the CA3 region. In the brainstem, staining was moderate to moderately dense in a number of sensory, motor, and reticular nuclei. The moderately dense staining in the reticulothalamic nucleus and pontine nuclei with antibody to GluR6/7 may represent its recognition of GluR7. In the cerebellum, staining was moderate in granular and molecular layers with antibody to KA2 and in the molecular layer with antibody to GluR6/7, whereas it was moderately dense to dense in the granular layer with the GluR6/7 antibody. Outside of the brain, densest staining was seen with antibody to KA2 in the intermediate lobe of the pituitary gland. Ultrastructural localization of immunostaining was examined in the hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and cerebellar cortex. Typically, major staining was in postsynaptic densities apposed by unstained presynaptic terminals with round or mainly round vesicles and in associated dendrites. The light microscope pattern of staining was fairly similar to that of previous [3H]kainate binding and in situ hybridization studies. In addition, comparison with previous studies on distribution of other types of glutamate receptors indicates that KA2 and GluR6/7 are found with various other subunits in many of the same cell populations throughout the nervous system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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