Evidence for the Activation of the N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor During Epileptiform Discharge

  • G. L. King
  • R. Dingledine
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 203)


N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors appear to be the most easily characterized class of excitatory amino acid receptors in the central nervous system. Receptor activation by NMDA is blocked by certain phosphonate compounds and is sensitive to the extracellular Mg2+ concentration, characteristics lacking in ’non-NMDA’ receptors such as for quisqualate and kainate (for review, see Watkins, 1984). Although NMDA receptors are abundant in the hippocampus (Monaghan et al., 1983; Greenamyre, 1985), putative NMDA antagonists have little or no effect on excitatory synaptic transmission in this structure under normal conditions (see Coan and Collingridge, 1985). Several investigators have therefore suggested that NMDA receptors are activated under abnormal or unusual conditions (Harris et al., 1984; Coan and Collingridge, 1985; Crunelli et al., 1985). For example, NMDA antagonists prevent long-term potentiation (Collingridge et al., 1983b), protect against CNS ischemia (Simon et al., 1984) and suppress some seizures (for review, see Meldrum, 1984). In addition, iontophoretic application of NMDA onto either mammalian neocortical or caudate neurons produces a pattern of burst discharge similar to that observed in an epileptic focus (Flatman et al., 1983; Herrling et al., 1983).


NMDA Receptor Excitatory Amino Acid NMDA Antagonist Epileptiform Activity Population Spike 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. L. King
    • 1
  • R. Dingledine
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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