Cholinergic neurons of the adult rat striatum are immunoreactive for glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate 2D but not N-methyl-d-aspartate 2C receptor subunits
Bloomfield, C.; O'Donnell, P.; French, S.J.; Totterdell, S.
Neuroscience 150(3): 639-646
ISSN/ISBN: 0306-4522 PMID: 17961930 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.09.035
Cholinergic neurons of the striatum play a crucial role in controlling output from this region. Their firing is under the control of a relatively limited glutamatergic input, deriving principally from the thalamus. Glutamate transmission is effected via three major subtypes of receptors, including those with affinity for N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) and the properties of individual receptors reflect their precise subunit composition. We examined the distribution of NMDA2C and NMDA2D subunits in the rat striatum using immunocytochemistry and show that a population of large neurons is strongly immunoreactive for NMDA2D subunits. From their morphology and ultrastructure, these neurons were presumed to be cholinergic and this was confirmed with double immunofluorescence. We also show that NMDA2C is present in a small number of septal and olfactory cortical neurons but absent from the striatum. Receptors that include NMDA2D subunits are relatively insensitive to magnesium ion block making neurons more likely to fire at more negative membrane potentials. Their localization to cholinergic neurons may enable very precise regulation of firing of these neurons by relatively small glutamatergic inputs.