Selective destruction of neurons by a transmitter agonist

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Science  07 Oct 1977:
Vol. 198, Issue 4312, pp. 71-72
DOI: 10.1126/science.197604


Microinjection of nanomole amounts of kainic acid, a heterocyclic analog of glutamate, into the cerebellums of adult hamsters and rats causes rapid degeneration of Purkinje, basket, stellate, and Golgi II cells, neurons that receive synaptic input from granule cells, whereas the granule cells themselves are spared. This selectivity is consistent with the evidence that glutamate is the granule cell transmitter and supports the hypothesis that kainic acid exerts its neurotoxic effects through glutamate receptors.