The mGlu5 metabotropic glutamate receptor is expressed in zones of active neurogenesis of the embryonic and postnatal brain

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2004 May 19;150(1):17-22. doi: 10.1016/j.devbrainres.2004.02.003.


Metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors have been implicated in the regulation of developmental plasticity. Here, we examined the expression of mGlu1a-b, -2, -3, -4a-b, and -5a receptor subtypes from embryonic day 12 (E12) to the early and late postnatal life. While all transcripts (with the exception of mGlu4 mRNA) were detected prenatally, only the mGlu5 receptor protein was found in detectable amounts in the embryonic brain. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that the mGlu5 receptor was mainly expressed by cells surrounding the ventricles at E15, whereas it was more diffusely expressed at E18. In the postnatal life, besides its classical expression sites, the mGlu5 receptor was found in zones of active neurogenesis such as the external granular layer (EGL) of the cerebellar cortex and the subventricular zone. In these regions, the presence of actively proliferating progenitor cells was detected by BrdU staining. No other subtype (among those we have examined) was found to be expressed in regions enriched of BrdU(+) cells. These data suggest a role for mGlu5 receptors in the early brain development and in basic cellular processes such as proliferation and/or differentiation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / embryology*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Female
  • Fetus
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / genetics*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptor, Metabotropic Glutamate 5
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Bromodeoxyuridine