Presynaptic NMDA receptors in the neocortex are both auto- and heteroreceptors

Silvia DeBiasi, Andrea Minelli, Marcello Melone, Fiorenzo Conti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We used electron microscopic immunocytochemistry with antibodies against NR1 and NR2A and B subunits to study the distribution of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in presynaptic axon terminals in the rat cerebral cortex. In all sections examined, NR1 and NR2A/B immunoreactivities were observed in axon terminals: NR1- and NR2A/B-positive axon terminals made both symmetrical and asymmetrical synapses on unlabelled dendritic profiles. Combined pre- and post-embedding studies showed that all NR1 and NR2A/B-positive axon terminals making symmetrical synapses were γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-positive. These observations show that both auto- and hetero-NMDA receptors do exist in the cerebral cortex, and indicate that part of the effects of NMDA receptor activation might be determined by modulating glutamate and GABA release.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2773-2776
Number of pages4
Issue number15-17
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Autoreceptors
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Glutamate
  • Heteroreceptors
  • NMDA receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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