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J Comp Neurol. 1998 Jun 15;395(4):450-65.

Changes in subcellular localization of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtypes during postnatal development of mouse thalamus.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of California at Irvine, 92697, USA.


High resolution immunoelectron microscopy was used to study subcellular localization patterns of three metabotropic glutamate receptor subtypes (mGluR1alpha, mGluR5, and mGluR2/3) during postnatal development of mouse ventral posterior (VP) thalamic nucleus. Immunoreactivity for all three mGluRs was detected from birth (postnatal day 0, P0), but mGluR1alpha showed dramatic changes in localization with age. In the first postnatal week, mGluR1alpha immunoreactivity was mainly found in proximal dendrites and somata and not usually associated with synaptic contacts. From the second postnatal week, it became concentrated in distal dendrites and preferentially associated with corticothalamic (RS) synapses. mGluR5 immunoreactivity was weaker than mGluR1alpha immunoreactivity at all postnatal ages and showed a similar change in subcellular distribution to that of mGluR1alpha. It was also localized in astrocytic processes. mGluR2/3 immunoreactivity was mainly localized in astrocytic processes surrounding neuronal somata and synapses and this pattern was consistently maintained through all postnatal ages. A small number of presynaptic axon terminals were labeled for mGluR2/3 immunoreactivity and formed asymmetrical synapses. This study demonstrates that Group I mGluR proteins (mGluR1alpha and mGluR5) become redistributed in association with the development of corticothalamic function as demonstrated physiologically, whereas Group II mGluR proteins (mGluR2/3) are mainly associated with neuroglia.

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