Activation mechanisms of the NMDA receptor

Book Section

NMDA receptors (NMDARs) are glutamate-gated cation channels with high calcium permeability that play important roles in many aspects of the biology of higher organisms. They are critical for the development of the central nervous system (CNS), generation of rhythms for breathing and locomotion, and the processes underlying learning, memory, and neuroplasticity. Consequently, abnormal expression levels and altered NMDAR function have been implicated in numerous neurological disorders and pathological conditions. NMDAR hypofunction can result in cognitive defects, whereas overstimulation causes excitotoxicity and subsequent neurodegeneration. Therefore, NMDARs are important therapeutic targets for many CNS disorders including stroke, hypoxia, ischemia, head trauma, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases, epilepsy, neuropathic pain, alcoholism, schizophrenia, and mood disorders. To date, drugs targeting NMDARs have had only limited success clinically due to poor efficacy and unacceptable side effects, including hallucinations, catatonia, ataxia, nightmares, and memory deficits.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Blanke, ML; VanDongen, AMJ

Published Date

  • January 1, 2008

Book Title

  • Biology of the NMDA Receptor

Start / End Page

  • 283 - 312

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9781420044140

Citation Source

  • Scopus