Blockade of NMDA receptors and apoptotic neurodegeneration in the developing brain

Chrysanthy Ikonomidou, Friederike Bosch, Michael Miksa, Petra Bittigau, Jessica Vöckler, Krikor Dikranian, Tanya I. Tenkova, Vanya Stefovska, Lechoslaw Turski, John W. Olney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1557 Scopus citations

Abstract

Programmed cell death (apoptosis) occurs during normal development of the central nervous system. However, the mechanisms that determine which neurons will succumb to apoptosis are poorly understood. Blockade of N- methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors for only a few hours during late fetal or early neonatal life triggered widespread apoptotic neurodegeneration in the developing rat brain, suggesting that the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, acting at NMDA receptors, controls neuronal survival. These findings may have relevance to human neurodevelopmental disorders involving prenatal (drug-abusing mothers) or postnatal (pediatric anesthesia) exposure to drugs that block NMDA receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-74
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume283
Issue number5398
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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