Glutamate is a major neurotransmitter that mediates synaptic excitaÂ tion at a vast majority of synapses in the central nervous system. GluÂ tamate is involved in many important brain functions , such as differÂ entiation, neuronal cell survival and death, proliferation and the 1 056-8700/94/06 1 0-03 1 9$05.00 NAKANISHI & MASU development of neuronal and glial cells, and plastic changes in efficacy of synaptic transmission in adult and developing brains. Long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (L TD) typify the longÂ lasting changes in synaptic efficacy mediated by glutamate transmisÂ sion and are believed to be underlying processes for information storage involved in memory acquisition and learning. Yet, massive stiVlUlation of glutamate receptors under some pathological conditions such as brain ischemia, hypoxia, hypoglycemia, and epilepsy, can result in neurodegeneration and neuronal cell death. Glutamate neurotoxicity may also be related to certain neurodegenerative disorders, such as Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's disease , and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Over the past few years, the diverse members of the glutamate reÂ ceptors have been identified with molecular cloning techniques and characterized at the molecular level. This review focuses on the mechÂ anisms underlying the diversification of the glutamate receptors and the characteristic
Annual Review of Biophysics – Annual Reviews
Published: Jun 1, 1994
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