Pharmacological properties and H+ sensitivity of excitatory amino acid receptor channels in rat cerebellar granule neurones

J Physiol. 1991 Feb:433:727-63. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1991.sp018453.


1. N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA), and kainate receptor channels have been examined in rat cerebellar granule neurones with whole-cell and single-channel patch-clamp methods. The whole-cell peak and steady-state aspartate and NMDA currents were reversibly inhibited by extracellular protons; the IC50 (concentration producing half-maximal inhibition) for the full H+ inhibition curve for NMDA receptors corresponded to pH 7.3, near to physiological pH. (S)-AMPA and kainate whole-cell currents were inhibited by protons with IC50 values that corresponded to pH 6.3 and 5.7, respectively; these receptors were, however, insensitive to H+ concentrations that inhibited NMDA receptor responses. 2. Proton inhibition of the NMDA, AMPA and kainate receptor-mediated responses was voltage insensitive, and did not involve a shift in reversal potential. 3. The EC50 (concentration producing half-maximal effect) for aspartate calculated from the whole-cell dose-response curve was similar at pH 6.8 and 7.6 (mean 11.2 microM). Although the EC50 for glycine potentiation of the aspartate response was marginally increased from 273 nM at pH 7.6 to 373 nM at pH 6.8, H+ inhibition was not overcome by up to 1 mM-external glycine. Inhibiting concentrations of H+ appropriate for AMPA and kainate receptors did not markedly alter the EC50 values determined for (S)-AMPA (3.4 microM) and kainate (114 microM) at pH 7.2. 4. Treatment of neurones with N-ethylmaleimide, iodoacetic acid, dithiothretiol or diethyl pyrocarbonate did not influence proton inhibition of NMDA receptor responses. However, treatment with diethyl pyrocarbonate, which potentiated aspartate responses, appeared to reduce the effectiveness of Zn2+ inhibition of NMDA receptors. 5. Desensitization of whole-cell NMDA and (S)-AMPA currents was studied with ionophoretic application of agonist to the cell soma. Whole-cell aspartate currents desensitized rapidly, irrespective of the glycine concentration. Increased H+ concentrations did not detectably alter the ratio of peak/steady-state current, or the time constants describing the onset of, or recovery from, desensitization. The time constant describing desensitization of (S)-AMPA-induced whole-cell currents also appeared unchanged by inhibiting pH (6.2). 6. The amplitudes of aspartate- or NMDA-activated single-channel multiple conductance levels were unchanged by decreasing the pH to 6.8.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellum / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ion Channels / drug effects
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Kainic Acid / metabolism
  • Kinetics
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Protons
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Amino Acid / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Amino Acid / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism


  • Ion Channels
  • Protons
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Amino Acid
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter
  • Kainic Acid