Effects of the kainate receptor agonist ATPA on glutamatergic synaptic transmission and plasticity during early postnatal development

Neuropharmacology. 2007 May;52(6):1354-65. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2007.01.015. Epub 2007 Feb 4.


Kainate type of glutamate receptors (KARs) modulate synaptic transmission in a developmentally regulated manner at several synapses in the brain. Previous studies have shown that KARs depress glutamatergic transmission at CA3-CA1 synapses in the hippocampus and these receptors are tonically active during early postnatal development. Here we use the GluR5 subunit specific agonist ATPA to further characterize the role of KARs in the modulation of synaptic transmission and plasticity in area CA1 during the first two weeks of life. We find that the depressant effect of ATPA on evoked fEPSPs/EPSCs is smaller in the neonate (P3-P6) than in the juvenile (P14-P18) rat CA1, due to endogenous activity of KAR in the neonate. Further, in the neonate but not juvenile CA1, ATPA downregulates action-potential independent transmission (mEPSCs) and its effects are dependent on protein kinase C activity. ATPA-induced depression of fEPSPs in the neonate occludes the presynaptic component of long-term depression (LTD). In contrast, at P14-P18, ATPA prevents LTD indirectly via GABAergic mechanisms. These data show that GluR5 signaling mechanisms are developmentally regulated and suggest distinct functional role for KARs in the modulation of synaptic transmission and plasticity at different stages of development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Electrophysiology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / pharmacology*
  • Glutamates / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / growth & development
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Isoxazoles / pharmacology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / drug effects*
  • Propionates / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid / agonists*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Glutamates
  • Isoxazoles
  • Propionates
  • Receptors, Kainic Acid
  • alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-tert-butyl-4-isoxazolepropionate