Age-dependent changes in the expression of group I and II metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors were studied by in situ hybridization, Western blot analysis and immunohistochemistry. Male Fisher 344 rats of three ages (3, 12 and 25 months) were tested. Age-related increases in mGlu1 receptor mRNA levels were found in several areas (thalamic nuclei, hippocampal CA3) with parallel increases in mGlu1a receptor protein expression. However, a slight decrease in mGlu1a receptor mRNA expression in individual Purkinje neurons and a decline in cerebellar mGlu1a receptor protein levels were detected in aged animals. In contrast, mGlu1b receptor mRNA levels increased in the cerebellar granule cell layer. Although mGlu5 receptor mRNA expression decreased in many regions, its protein expression remained unchanged during aging. Compared to the small changes in mGlu2 receptor mRNA levels, mGlu3 receptor mRNA levels showed substantial age differences. An increased mGlu2/3 receptor protein expression was found in the frontal cortex, thalamus, hippocampus and corpus callosum in aged animals. These results demonstrate region- and subtype-specific, including splice variant specific changes in the expression of mGlu receptors in the brain with increasing age.
- Aging, metabotropic glutamate receptors
- In situ hybridization
- Rat brain
- Western blot
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