Objectives: The neuroprotective effects of resveratrol against excitatory neurotoxicity have been associated with N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) inhibition. This study examined the differential inhibitory effects of resveratrol on NMDAR-mediated responses in neuronal cells with different NMDAR subtype composition. Methods: The effects of resveratrol on NMDA-induced cell death and calcium influx in immature and mature rat primary cortical neurons were determined and compared. Moreover, the potencies and efficacies of resveratrol to inhibit NR1/NR2A, NR1/NR2B, NR1/NR2C, and NR1/NR2D NMDAR expressed in HEK 293 cells were evaluated. Results: Resveratrol significantly attenuated NMDA-induced cell death in mature neurons, but not in immature neurons. Resveratrol also concentration-dependently reduced NMDA-induced calcium influx among all NMDAR subtypes, but displayed NR2 subunit selectivity, with a potency rank order of NR2B = NR2D > NR2A = NR2C and an efficacy rank order of NR2B = NR2C > NR2A = NR2D. Data show the stronger inhibitory effects of resveratrol on NR1/NR2B than other subtypes. Moreover, resveratrol did not affect hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP), but impaired long-term depression (LTD). Discussion: These findings reveal the specific NMDAR modulating profile of resveratrol, providing further insight into potential mechanisms underlying the protective effects of resveratrol on neurological disorders.
Keywords: Cortical neuron; LTD; LTP; NMDAR subtypes; calcium; hippocampus; neurotoxicity; resveratrol.