Differential expression of NMDA and AMPA/KA receptor subunits in the inferior olive of postnatal rats

L. W. Chen, Y. C. Tse, C. Li, Z. L. Guan, C. H. Lai, Kin Lam YUNG, D. K.Y. Shum, Y. S. Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


We have employed immunohistochemistry to determine the expression patterns of receptor subunits of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA-NR1 and NR2A/B) and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-propionic acid/kainic acid (AMPA/KA-GluR1, GluR2, GluR2/3, GluR4, and GluR5/6/7) in the inferior olive of postnatal rats up to adulthood. Immunoreactivity for distinct receptor subunits was predominantly localized in the soma and dendrites of neurons. Semi-quantification showed that the overall immunoreactivity in the inferior olive of adults was intense for GluR1, moderate for NR1 and NR2A/B, and low for GluR2, GluR2/3, GluR4, and GluR5/6/7. At P7, GluR1 was restricted to the dorsomedial cell column, subnucleus beta, principal nucleus and ventrolateral protrusion while the other subunits were found in all subnuclei of the inferior olive. The immunoreactivities for all glutamate receptor subunits ranged from low to moderate. As the rats matured, the immunoreactivity of GluR4 decreased after the second postnatal week, while those of the other subunits showed a general trend of increase, reaching adult level during the third postnatal week. Double immunofluorescence revealed that all NR1-containing neurons exhibited NR2A/B immunoreactivity, indicating that native NMDA receptors comprise of hetero-oligomeric combinations of NR1 and NR2A/B. Furthermore, co-localization of NMDA and AMPA/KA receptor subunits was demonstrated in individual neurons of the inferior olive. All NR1-containing neurons exhibited GluR1 immunoreactivity, and all NR2A/B-containing neurons showed GluR5/6/7 immunoreactivity. Our data suggest that NMDA and AMPA/KA receptors are involved in glutamate-mediated neurotransmission, contributing to synaptic plasticity and reorganization of circuitry in the inferior olive during postnatal development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-114
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2006

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology

User-Defined Keywords

  • AMPA/KA receptor
  • Co-localization
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inferior olive
  • NMDA receptor


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