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J Comp Neurol. 1998 Apr 13;393(3):332-52.

Immunohistochemical localization of metabotropic glutamate receptors, mGluR7a and mGluR7b, in the central nervous system of the adult rat and mouse: a light and electron microscopic study.

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Department of Morphological Brain Science, Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University, Japan.


The distributions of two alternative splicing variants of metabotropic glutamate receptor mGluR7, mGluR7a and mGluR7b, were examined immunohistochemically in the rat and mouse by using variant-specific antibodies raised against C-terminal portions of rat mGluR7a and human mGluR7b. Many regions throughout the central nervous system (CNS) showed mGluR7-like immunoreactivities (LI). The distribution patterns of mGluR7-LI in the rat were substantially the same as those in the mouse, although some species differences were observed in a few regions. Intense mGluR7a-LI was seen in the main and accessory olfactory bulbs, anterior olfactory nucleus, islands of Calleja, superficial layers of the olfactory tubercle, piriform cortex and entorhinal cortex, periamygdaloid cortex, amygdalohippocampal area, hippocampus, layer I of the neocortical regions, globus pallidus, superficial layers of the superior colliculus, locus coeruleus, and superficial layers of the medullary and spinal dorsal horns. The distribution of mGluR7b was more restricted. It was intense in the islands of Calleja, substantia innominata, hippocampus, ventral pallidum, and globus pallidus. The medial habenular nucleus also showed intense mGluR7a-LI in the rat but not in the mouse. For both mGluR7a- and mGluR7b-LI, localization in the active zones of presynaptic axon terminals was confirmed electron microscopically at synapses of both the asymmetrical and symmetrical types. It is noteworthy that mGluR7a-LI is seen preferentially in relay nuclei of the sensory pathways and that both mGluR7a- and mGluR7b-LI are observed not only in presumed glutamatergic axon terminals, but also in non-glutamatergic axon terminals including presumed inhibitory ones. Thus, mGluR7 may play roles not only as an autoreceptor in glutamatergic axon terminals, but also as a presynaptic heteroreceptor in non-glutamatergic axon terminals in various CNS regions.

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