Open channel block and alteration of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor gating by an analog of phencyclidine

Biophys J. 1998 Oct;75(4):1801-16. doi: 10.1016/S0006-3495(98)77622-2.


We investigated inhibition of the N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor-channel complex by N-ethyl-1,4,9, 9alpha-tetrahydro-4alphaR-cis-4alphaH-fluoren-++ +4alpha-amine (NEFA), a structural analog of phencyclidine (PCP). Using the whole-cell recording technique, we demonstrated that NEFA inhibits NMDA responses with an IC50 of 0.51 microM at -66 mV. We determined that NEFA binds to the open channel, and subsequently the channel can close and trap the blocker. Once the channel has closed, NEFA is unable to dissociate until the channel reopens. Single-channel recordings revealed that NEFA reduces the mean open time of single NMDA-activated channels in a concentration-dependent manner with a forward blocking rate (k+) of 39.9 microM-1 s-1. A computational model of antagonism by NEFA was developed and constrained using kinetic measurements of single-channel data. By multiple criteria, only models in which blocker binding in the channel causes a change in receptor operation adequately fit or predicted whole-cell data. By comparing model predictions and experimental measurements of NEFA action at a high NMDA concentration, we determined that NEFA affects receptor operation through an influence on channel gating. We conclude that inhibition of NMDA receptors by PCP-like blockers involves a modification of channel gating as well as block of current flow through the open channel.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Fluorenes / pharmacology*
  • Ion Channel Gating / drug effects*
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Chemical
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Phencyclidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Prosencephalon / cytology
  • Prosencephalon / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / drug effects
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology*


  • Fluorenes
  • N-ethyl-1,4,9,9alpha-4alphaH-fluoren-4alpha-amine
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Phencyclidine