We have defined conditions whereby glutamate becomes toxic to isolated cerebellar granule neurons in a physiologic salt solution (pH 7.4). In the presence of a physiologic Mg++ concentration, acute glutamate excitotoxicity manifests only when the temperature was reduced from 37°C to 22°C. In contrast to glutamate, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) was non-toxic at either temperature at concentrations as high as 1 mM. Glycine strongly potentiated both the potency and efficacy of glutamate but revealed only a modest NMDA response. The non-NMDA receptor antagonist, 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxalinedione (CNQX), potently protected against glutamate challenge, although the contribution of antagonism at strychnine-insensitive glycine sites could not be excluded. To further characterize the non-NMDA receptor contribution to the excitotoxic response, the promiscuity of glutamate interaction with ionotropic receptors was simulated by exposing neurons to NMDA in the presence of non-NMDA receptor agonists. NMDA toxicity was potentiated four- to sevenfold when non-NMDA receptors were coactivated by a subtoxic concentration of AMPA, kainate, or domoate. These results suggest that non-NMDA receptor activation participates in the mechanism of acute glutamate toxicity by producing neuronal depolarization (via sodium influx), which in turn promotes the release of the voltage-dependent magnesium blockade of NMDA receptor ion channels.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Biochemical Toxicology|
|State||Published - 1996|
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