Glutamate receptor subunit expression after spinal cord injury in young rats

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2004 Aug 18;152(1):61-8. doi: 10.1016/j.devbrainres.2004.06.001.


To investigate the possibility that glutamate receptor levels in the spinal cord are altered following injury to young rats, we used a previously characterized model of spinal cord contusion that produces a reliable injury in rats at postnatal day 14-15. Quantitative Western blot analysis was used to measure relative amounts of protein for several glutamate receptor subunits acutely (24 h) and chronically (28 days) after spinal cord injury (SCI). Acutely after injury significant decreases were observed in the GluR1, GluR2, and GluR4 subunits of the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole proprionate (AMPA) receptor, and the NR2A and NR2B subunits, but not the NR1 subunit, of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. However, 28 days after injury only one subunit (GluR4) was shown to be altered. These widespread changes that occur acutely in receptor subunit expression may be an attempt to protect cells from glutamate-induced death. The injured spinal cord in these young animals, however, appears to have the capacity to regulate receptor subunit levels to normal within a month of injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Male
  • Protein Subunits / biosynthesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / biosynthesis*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology


  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate