Synaptic and extrasynaptic plasticity in glutamatergic circuits involving dentate granule cells following chronic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor inhibition

Shuijin He, Li Rong Shao, Yu Wang, Suzanne B. Bausch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Chronic global N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) blockade leads to changes in glutamatergic transmission. The impact of more subunit-selective NMDAR inhibition on glutamatergic circuits remains incomplete. To this end, organotypic hippocampal slice cultures were treated for 17-21 days with the high-affinity competitive antagonist D-aminophosphonovaleric acid (D-APV), the allosteric GluN2B-selective antagonist Ro25-6981, or the newer competitive GluN2A-preferring antagonist NVP-AAM077. Electrophysiological recordings from dentate granule cells revealed that chronic D-APV treatment increased, whereas chronic Ro25-6981 reduced, epileptiform event-associated large-amplitude spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSC) compared with all other treatment groups, consistent with opposite effects on glutamatergic networks. Presynaptically, chronic D-APV or Ro25-6981 increased small-amplitude sEPSCs and AMPA/kainate receptor-mediated miniature EPSCs (mEPSCAMPAR) frequency. Chronic D-APV or NVPAAM077, but not Ro25-6981, increased putative vGlut1-positive glutamatergic synapses. Postsynaptically, chronic D-APV dramatically increased mEPSCAMPAR and profoundly decreased NMDAR-mediated mEPSC (mEPSCNMDAR) measures, suggesting increased AMPAR/NMDAR ratio. Ro25-6981 decreased mEPSCAMPAR charge transfer and modestly decreased mEPSCNMDAR frequency and decay, suggesting downward scaling of AMPAR and NMDAR function without dramatically altering AMPAR/NMDAR ratio. Extrasynaptically, threo--benzyloxyaspartate-enhanced "tonic" NMDAR current amplitude and activated channel number estimates were significantly increased only by chronic Ro25-6981. For intrinsic excitability, action potential threshold was slightly more negative following chronic D-APV or NVP-AAM077. The predominant pro-excitatory effects of chronic D-APV are consistent with increased glutamatergic transmission and network excitability. The minor effects of chronic NVPAAM077 on action potential threshold and synapse number are consistent with minimal effects on circuit function. The chronic Ro25-6981-induced downward scaling of synaptic AMPAR and NMDAR function is consistent with decreased postsynaptic glutamate receptors and reduced network excitability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1535-1547
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • AMPA receptor
  • GluN2A
  • GluN2B
  • Hippocampus
  • NR2A
  • NR2B
  • Ro25-6981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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