NMDA receptor trafficking in synaptic plasticity and neuropsychiatric disorders

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2007 Jun;8(6):413-26. doi: 10.1038/nrn2153.


The number and subunit composition of synaptic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) are not static, but change in a cell- and synapse-specific manner during development and in response to neuronal activity and sensory experience. Neuronal activity drives not only NMDAR synaptic targeting and incorporation, but also receptor retrieval, differential sorting into the endosomal-lysosomal pathway and lateral diffusion between synaptic and extrasynaptic sites. An emerging concept is that activity-dependent, bidirectional regulation of NMDAR trafficking provides a dynamic and potentially powerful mechanism for the regulation of synaptic efficacy and remodelling, which, if dysregulated, can contribute to neuropsychiatric disorders such as cocaine addiction, Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Endocytosis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / metabolism*
  • Mental Disorders / physiopathology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Protein Transport / physiology
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate