Expression of NMDA glutamate receptor subunit mRNAs in neurochemically identified projection and interneurons in the striatum of the rat

Academic Article


  • NMDA receptors are composed of proteins from two families: NMDAR1 and NMDAR2. We used quantitative double-label in situ hybridization to examine in rat brain the expression of NMDAR1, NMDAR2A, NMDAR2B, and NMDAR2C mRNA in six neurochemically defined populations of striatal neurons: preproenkephalin (ENK) and preprotachykinin (SP) expressing projection neurons, and somatostatin (SOM), glutamic acid decarboxylase 67 (GAD67), parvalbumin (PARV), and choline acetyltransferase (CHAT) expressing interneurons. NMDAR1 was expressed by all striatal neurons: strongly in ENK, SP, PARV and ChAT neurons, and less intensely in SOM and GAD67 positive cells. NMDAR2A mRNA was present at moderate levels in all striatal neurons except those containing CHAT. Labeling for NMDAR2B was strong in projection neurons and ChAT interneurons, and only moderate in SOM, GAD67 and PARV interneurons. NMDAR2C was scarce in striatal neurons, but a low level signal was detected in GAD67 positive cells. NMDAR2C expression was also observed in small cells not labeled by any of the markers, most likely glia. These data suggest that all striatal neurons have NMDA receptors, but different populations have different subunit compositions which may affect function as well as selective vulnerability.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Brain Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Standaert DG; Friberg IK; Landwehrmeyer GB; Young AB; Penney JB
  • Start Page

  • 11
  • End Page

  • 23
  • Volume

  • 64
  • Issue

  • 1