NMDA receptor antagonist treatment induces a long-lasting increase in the number of proliferating cells, PSA-NCAM-immunoreactive granule neurons and radial glia in the adult rat dentate gyrus

Eur J Neurosci. 2001 Feb;13(3):512-20. doi: 10.1046/j.0953-816x.2000.01424.x.


During adulthood, neural precursors located in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus continue to proliferate, leading to the generation of new granule neurons. These recently generated cells transiently express the polysialylated form of the neural cell adhesion molecule, PSA-NCAM, and are supported by radial glia-like cells that are likely to play a role in neuronal migration and differentiation, or even act as their precursors. Previous reports indicate that treatment with NMDA receptor antagonists stimulates adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus, and because of the potential therapeutic value of this approach, we were interested in further characterizing the consequences of pharmacologically modulating this process. We treated adult rats with the competitive NMDA receptor antagonist, CGP43487, and examined cell proliferation, PSA-NCAM expression, and changes in the radial glia cell population in the subgranular zone at different time points. In addition, we sought to determine if this treatment led to changes in cell death or gliotic reactions. The number of proliferating cells in the subgranular region of the dentate gyrus was increased significantly 2 days after treatment and it remained elevated 7 days postinjection. PSA-NCAM-immunoreactive granule cells and nestin-expressing radial glia-like cells also increased in number 7 days after the treatment. In contrast, we did not observe any change in granule cell death, and we were unable to detect any microglial or astroglial reaction during the first 7 days after treatment. Thus, NMDA receptor antagonist treatment serves as a valuable tool to increase neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus without undesirable collateral deleterious effects.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / analogs & derivatives*
  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / pharmacology
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Astrocytes / chemistry
  • Astrocytes / cytology*
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / analysis
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Cell Death / physiology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology*
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / analysis
  • Male
  • Microglia / chemistry
  • Microglia / cytology
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins*
  • Nestin
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1*
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis*
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / immunology
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Sialic Acids / analysis*
  • Sialic Acids / immunology


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nes protein, rat
  • Nestin
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Sialic Acids
  • polysialyl neural cell adhesion molecule
  • CGP 43487
  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate
  • Bromodeoxyuridine