Neurochemical Research

, Volume 17, Issue 12, pp 1223–1228 | Cite as

Modification of modulatory sites of NMDA receptor in the fetal guinea pig brain during development

  • Om Prakash Mishra
  • Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos
Original Articles


Ontogeny of the NMDA receptor and modification of its modulatory sites in the developing fetus brain was determined. MK-801 binding characteristics in the presence of glycine, glutamate, Mg2+ and spermine were determined and used as an index of NMDA receptor modification. Experiments were performed on guinea pig fetuses at 30, 45, 50, 55, and 60 days (term=63 days) of gestation. The Bmax value increased approximately three-fold from 30 days to 60 days of gestation. The Kd value decreased during the 45–50 day period and then increased toward the end of gestation. The Bmax value reached its maximum level by 55 days of gestation, indicating the presence of a maximum number of NMDA receptors by this age, while the apparent affinity of the receptor showed its peak at 45–50 days of gestation, indicating a potential role for NMDA receptor during the proliferation period of brain development in the guinea pig fetus. The activation of NMDA receptor in the presence of glutamate (10 μM) and glycine (10 μM), as measured by MK-801 binding, was absent at 30 days gestation, with the earliest observation occurring at 35 days gestation. The spermine dependent activation decreased with gestational age. Mg2+ ions increased MK-801 binding in the range of 1–20 μM concentration. Sensitivity to Mg2+ dependent activation increased with the gestational age (from 10 μM Mg2+ at 45 days to 2.5 μM at 55 and 60 days). These results indicate that an increase in number and activation of the NMDA receptor by glutamate and glycine during brain development might increase the susceptibility of the fetal brain to NMDA receptor mediated excitotoxicity as gestation approaches term.

Key Words

NMDA receptor glutamate glycine spermine brain modulatory sites fetus 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Om Prakash Mishra
    • 1
  • Maria Delivoria-Papadopoulos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of Pennsylvania School of MedicinePhiladelphia

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