Are Ca2+-permeable kainate/AMPA receptors more abundant in immature brain?

Domenico E. Pellegrini-Giampietro, Michael V.L. Bennett, R. Suzanne Zukin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

153 Scopus citations


The permeability properties of kainate/AMPA receptors are determined by subunit composition. The GluR1 and GluR3 subunits form Ca2+-permeable channels and exhibit inward rectification; heteromeric receptors containing the GluR2 subunit are Ca2+-impermeable and electrically linear. These observations raise the possibily of a developmental 'switch' in which turning on or off of GluR2 expression regulates the level of Ca2+ permeable kainate/AMPA receptors. We examined the ratio of GluR1 and GluR3 to GluR2 gene expression in developing and adult rat brain by in situ hybridization. A larger value of this ratio is likely to be associated with greater Ca2+ permeability. Our data suggest that in neocortex, striatum and cerebellum the number of Ca2+-permeable kainate/AMPA receptors is high at P4 and declines monotonically with age. In hippocampus, the number increases from P7 to P21, after which it declines. These findings provide evidence for a developmental 'switch' in which Ca2+ permeable glutamate receptors are turned off following early developmental events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-69
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 14 1992


  • AMPA
  • Ca-permeability
  • Excitotoxicity
  • Glutamate receptor
  • In situ hybridization
  • Kainate
  • Ontogeny
  • Synaptogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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