Pharmacological characterization of metabotropic glutamate receptors in cultured cerebellar granule cells

E. Aronica, F. Nicoletti, D. F. Condorelli, R. Balázs

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A detailed pharmacological characterization of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR) was performed in primary cultures of cerebellar granule cells at 6 days in vitro (DIV). The rank order of agonists induced polyphosphoinositide (PPI) hydrolysis (after correcting for the ionotropic component in the response) was as follows: in terms of efficiency, Glu>quisqualate (quis)=ibotenate (ibo)>(1S,3R)-1-amino-cyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid (ACPD)>β-methyl-amino-l-alanine (BMAA) and in terms of potency, quis>ACPD>Glu>ibo=BMAA. Ionotropic excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptor agonists, such as α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) were relatively inactive (in the presence of Mg2+). Quis and ACPD-induced PPI hydrolysis was unaffected by ionotropic Glu receptor antagonists, but was inhibited, in part by L-2-amino-3-phosphonopropionate (AP3). In contrast, Glu-or ibo- induced PPI hydrolysis was reduced, in part, by both AP3 and NMDA receptor antagonists. Characteristic interactions involving different transmitter receptors were noted. PPI hydrolysis evoked by quis and 1S,3R-ACPD was not additive. In contrast, PPI hydrolysis stimulated by quis/ACPD and carbamylcholine was additive (indicating different receptors/transduction pathways). In the presence of Mg2+, the metabotropic response to quis/AMPA and NMDA was synergistic (this being consistent with AMPA receptor-induced depolarization activating NMDA receptor). On the other hand, in Mg2+-free buffer the effects of quis and NMDA, at concentrations causing maximal PPI hydrolysis, were additive (indicating that PPI hydrolysis was effected by two different mechanisms). Thus, in cerebellar granule cells EAAs elicit PPI hydrolysis by acting at two distinct receptor types: (i) metabotropic Glu receptors (mGluR), with pharmacological characteristics suggesting the expression of a unique mGluR receptor that shows certain similarities to those observed for the mGluR1 subtype (Aramori and Nakanishi, 1992) and (ii) NMDA receptors. The physiological agonist, Glu, is able to stimulate both receptor classes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-612
Number of pages8
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1993


  • cerebellar cultures
  • cerebellar granule cells
  • Excitatory amino acids
  • glutamate
  • glutamate receptors
  • metabotropic glutamate receptors
  • NMDA receptors
  • phosphoinositide hydrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry


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