Differential distribution of glutamate receptors in the cochlear nuclei

Hear Res. 2000 Sep;147(1-2):59-69. doi: 10.1016/s0378-5955(00)00120-9.


Glutamate receptors are the major excitatory neurotransmitter receptors of the mammalian central nervous system, and include AMPA, kainate, delta, NMDA, and metabotropic types. In the cochlear nucleus (CN), the AMPA receptor subunits GluR2-4 are found in major kinds of neurons, while GluR1 subunit distribution is more restricted. GluR2 is low in the anteroventral CN, suggesting that many AMPA receptors here are calcium-permeable. Delta receptors are most prevalent in cartwheel cells in the dorsal CN. Of the NMDA receptors, NR1 is widespread while the NR2 subunits show more restricted distributions. Of the metabotropic glutamate receptors, mGluR1alpha is most prevalent in the dorsal CN, and mGluR2 is concentrated in Golgi cells and unipolar brush cells. AMPA receptors in endbulb synapses in the anteroventral CN are mainly GluR3+4 complexes: probably an adaptation for rapid auditory neurotransmission. Glutamate receptors are differentially distributed in synapses of fusiform cells of the dorsal CN; GluR4 and mGluR1alpha are present only at basal dendrite synapses (auditory nerve), while other glutamate receptors occupy both apical and basal synapses. Analysis of cytoplasmic distribution suggests that a selective targeting mechanism may restrict movement of GluR4 and mGluR1alpha to basal dendrites, although other targeting mechanisms may be present.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cochlear Nucleus / anatomy & histology
  • Cochlear Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Dendrites / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / metabolism
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / metabolism
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta / metabolism
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Receptors, Opioid, delta