Reduction of Voltage-Dependent Mg2+ Blockade of NMDA Current in Mechanically Injured Neurons

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Science  13 Dec 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5294, pp. 1921-1923
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5294.1921


Activation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamate receptors is implicated in the pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury. Here, the effects of mechanical injury on the voltage-dependent magnesium (Mg2+) block of NMDA currents in cultured rat cortical neurons were examined. Stretch-induced injury was found to reduce the Mg2+ blockade, resulting in significantly larger ionic currents and increases in intracellular free calcium (Ca2+) concentration after NMDA stimulation of injured neurons. The Mg2+ blockade was partially restored by increased extracellular Mg2+ concentration or by pretreatment with the protein kinase C inhibitor calphostin C. These findings could account for the secondary pathological changes associated with traumatic brain injury.