Activity coregulates quantal AMPA and NMDA currents at neocortical synapses

Neuron. 2000 Jun;26(3):659-70. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)81202-7.


AMPA and NMDA receptors are coexpressed at many central synapses, but the factors that control the ratio of these two receptors are not well understood. We recorded mixed miniature or evoked synaptic currents arising from coactivation of AMPA and NMDA receptors and found that long-lasting changes in activity scaled both currents up and down proportionally through changes in the number of postsynaptic receptors. The ratio of NMDA to AMPA current was similar at different synapses onto the same neuron, and this relationship was preserved following activity-dependent synaptic scaling. These data show that AMPA and NMDA receptors are tightly coregulated by activity at synapses at which they are both expressed and suggest that a mechanism exists to actively maintain a constant receptor ratio across a neuron's synapses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Artifacts
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Glutamic Acid / pharmacology
  • Neocortex / cytology
  • Neocortex / physiology*
  • Nerve Endings / drug effects
  • Nerve Endings / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, AMPA / physiology*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Glutamic Acid