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Non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors mediate neocerebellar excitation at accessory oculomotor nuclei synapses of the rat.

G. Bosco, A. Casabona, V. Perciavalle


The nature of the receptor which mediates cerebellar-evoked monosynaptic excitations recorded from the accessory oculomotor nuclei (AON), i.e. the nucleus of posterior commissure, the nucleus of Darkschewitsch and the interstitial nucleus of Cajal, was studied in adult rats. Effects of exogenously applied excitatory amino acid (EAA) agonists N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and quisqualate (QUIS) and of selective NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (2APV) and non-NMDA receptor antagonist 6,7-dinitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (DNQX) were examined on both amino acid induced and synaptic excitation. Microiontophoretic application of NMDA and QUIS in the AON of the rat increases the neuronal discharge in a dose-dependent manner. These findings suggest that in the rat cells belonging to AON bear both NMDA and non-NMDA receptors. This result was confirmed by the fact that applications of 2APV selectively antagonized NMDA-induced responses without affecting those to QUIS, while DNQX blocked specifically the excitatory responses to QUIS and did not affect NMDA-mediated excitations. We did not observe any difference, between rats anesthetized with urethane and those anesthetized with halothane, with respect to capability of EAA agonists NMDA and QUIS to increase the AON cells activity and of EAA receptor antagonists 2APV and DNQX to abolish the NMDA-induced and the QUIS-induced effects, respectively. In addition, monosynaptic excitations induced by the stimulation of cerebellar lateral nucleus were abolished by microiontophoretic application of DNQX, but not of 2APV. This finding indicates that neocerebellar inputs activate specifically non-NMDA receptors of AON neurons.

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