Neurochemical Research

, Volume 33, Issue 8, pp 1475–1483 | Cite as

Contribution of NMDA and Non-NMDA Receptors to In vivo Glutamate-Induced Calpain Activation in the Rat Striatum. Relation to Neuronal Damage

Original Paper


Glutamate, the major excitatory neurotransmitter, can cause the death of neurons by a mechanism known as excitotoxicity. This is a calcium-dependent process and activation of the NMDA receptor subtype contributes mainly to neuronal damage, due to its high permeability to calcium. Activation of calpain, a calcium-dependent cysteine protease, has been implicated in necrotic excitotoxic neuronal death. We have investigated the contribution of NMDA and non-NMDA ionotropic receptors to calpain activation and neuronal death induced by the acute administration of glutamate into the rat striatum. Calpain activity was assessed by the cleavage of the cytoskeletal protein, α-spectrin. Caspase-3 activity was also studied because glutamate can also lead to apoptosis. Results show no caspase-3 activity, but a strong calpain activation involving both NMDA and non-NMDA receptors. Although neuronal damage is mediated mainly by the NMDA receptor subtype, it can not be attributed solely to calpain activity.


NMDA AMPA Kainate Caspase-3 Calpain Neurotoxicity 



This work was supported by IN213507 PAPPIT (UNAM) grant to LM and 167146 CONACYT and DGEP fellowships to P. Del Río supported this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Perla Del Río
    • 1
  • Teresa Montiel
    • 1
  • Lourdes Massieu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Instituto de Fisiología CelularUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexicoMexico
  2. 2.Departamento de Neurociencias, Instituto de Fisiología CelularUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexicoMexico

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