Morphological alterations in dendritic spines of rat hippocampal neurons exposed to N-methyl-D-aspartate

Neurosci Lett. 1995 Jun 30;193(2):73-6. doi: 10.1016/0304-3940(95)11665-j.


Individual cultured rat hippocampal neurons grown on glass coverslips were loaded with lucifer yellow (LY) and segments of their dendrites, containing dendritic spines, were exposed to the glutamate agonist N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA). Repeated pulse application of NMDA caused a reduction of spine length by 20%, within 1-2 h of exposure to the drug. No such changes were seen in spines exposed to NMDA in presence of the antagonist 2-aminophosphonovalerate or in spines on sister dendrites which were not exposed to NMDA. It is suggested that dendritic spines shrink following exposure to excessive synaptic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Dendrites / drug effects*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Isoquinolines
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Rats
  • Time Factors


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Isoquinolines
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • lucifer yellow