Modulation of neuronal migration by NMDA receptors

Science  02 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5104, pp. 95-97
DOI: 10.1126/science.8096653


The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of the glutamate receptor is essential for neuronal differentiation and establishment or elimination of synapses in a developing brain. The activity of the NMDA receptor has now been shown to also regulate the migration of granule cells in slice preparations of the developing mouse cerebellum. First, blockade of NMDA receptors by specific antagonists resulted in the curtailment of cell migration. Second, enhancement of NMDA receptor activity by the removal of magnesium or by the application of glycine increased the rate of cell movement. Third, increase of endogenous extracellular glutamate by inhibition of its uptake accelerated the rate of cell migration. These results suggest that NMDA receptors may play an early role in the regulation of calcium-dependent cell migration before neurons reach their targets and form synaptic contacts.

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