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Open Access Research

Pharmacological isolation of postsynaptic currents mediated by NR2A- and NR2B-containing NMDA receptors in the anterior cingulate cortex

Long-Jun Wu, Hui Xu, Ming Ren, Xiaoyan Cao and Min Zhuo*

Author Affiliations

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 1 King's College Circle, Medical Science Building, Room 3342, Toronto, Canada

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Molecular Pain 2007, 3:11  doi:10.1186/1744-8069-3-11

Published: 30 April 2007

Abstract

NMDA receptors (NMDARs) are involved in excitatory synaptic transmission and plasticity associated with a variety of brain functions, from memory formation to chronic pain. Subunit-selective antagonists for NMDARs provide powerful tools to dissect NMDAR functions in neuronal activities. Recently developed antagonist for NR2A-containing receptors, NVP-AAM007, triggered debates on its selectivity and involvement of the NMDAR subunits in bi-directional synaptic plasticity. Here, we re-examined the pharmacological properties of NMDARs in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) using NVP-AAM007 as well as ifenprodil, a selective antagonist for NR2B-containing NMDARs. By alternating sequence of drug application and examining different concentrations of NVP-AAM007, we found that the presence of NVP-AAM007 did not significantly affect the effect of ifenprodil on NMDAR-mediated EPSCs. These results suggest that NVP-AAM007 shows great preference for NR2A subunit and could be used as a selective antagonist for NR2A-containing NMDARs in the ACC.