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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Blockade of AMPA/kainate receptors can either decrease or increase the survival of cultured neocortical cells depending on the stage of maturation.

Neurotoxicity has often been associated with glutamate receptor stimulation and neuroprotection with glutamate receptor blockade. However, the relationship may be much more complex. We dissociated cells from the rat neocortical anlage at an early stage of prenatal development (embryonic day 14). The cells were exposed in vitro to agonists and antagonists of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate (AMPA)/kainate and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors and the effects on differentiation and survival have been quantitatively and qualitatively evaluated. NMDA and the non-competitive antagonist (5R,10S)-(+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]-cyclohepten-5,10-imine hydrogen maleate (MK-801) had the expected effects (the agonist decreasing and the antagonist increasing neuronal survival) when applied at a relatively advanced stage of in vitro maturation, but no significant effect in either direction at earlier stages. Kainate also had an effect on cell survival only at an advanced stage (where it decreased the number of cells). However, this cannot be attributed to the absence of functional AMPA/kainate receptors at earlier stages, since: (1) cells could be loaded with cobalt; and (2) early application of kainate dramatically reduced the number of cobalt-positive cells. Furthermore, exposure at early stages to 6,7-dinitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (DNQX), or GYKI 53655, (competitive and non-competitive AMPA receptor antagonists, respectively) strongly reduced cell survival. The effects were concentration- and time-dependent with a complex time--curve. The decrease in cell number was maximal after antagonist application from 2 to 5 days in vitro. The effects of DNQX could be cancelled by co-application of kainate. When exposed to an antagonist at later stages of development, the number of surviving cells gradually approached control values and finally became significantly higher. Our results suggest that cells of the developing neocortex (and perhaps newly generated cells in the adult brain) require at different stages of their development, an appropriate level of AMPA/kainate receptor activation.[1]


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