AMPA and NMDA receptor-mediated currents in developing dentate gyrus granule cells

Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2005 Mar 22;155(1):26-32. doi: 10.1016/j.devbrainres.2004.12.002.


Granule cells (GCs) of the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) undergo postnatal neurogenesis such that cells at different maturational stages can be studied within an anatomically restricted region and a narrow animal age epoch. Using whole cell patch clamp recordings in hippocampal slices, we have previously found that input resistance (IR) correlates inversely with morphometric indicators of GC maturity. Using IR as an index of maturity we measured developmental changes in synaptic currents mediated by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors in GCs from 5- to 12-day rats. Peak NMDA and AMPA EPSC amplitudes increased, and the NMDA/AMPA ratio reversed with advancing cell age. NMDA EPSCs showed a maturational decrease in rise time but no change in decay time, whereas AMPA EPSCs showed neither rise nor decay time changes with development. Ifenprodil, a high affinity selective inhibitor of NR1/NR2B diheteromeric NMDA receptors, blocked approximately 50% of the peak amplitude of evoked NMDA EPSCs in all tested GCs regardless of their maturity and did not affect the measured kinetic properties. These data suggest that development of glutamatergic synapses follows distinct schedules. AMPA receptors possessed mature kinetics and became the dominant glutamatergic current within the age epoch studied, whereas NMDA receptors showed maturational changes in rise times but not decay kinetics. The reported modifications of EPSC properties are consistent with changes in receptor and synapse number, and relative quantities of AMPA and NMDA receptors. Changes in the subunit composition that determines NMDA decay kinetics may occur beyond the early neonatal period.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / growth & development*
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Male
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Protein Subunits / drug effects
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / drug effects
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / drug effects
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Protein Subunits
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Glutamic Acid