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Development of NMDA and non-NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory synaptic transmission in geniculocortical and corticocortical connections in organotypic coculture preparations


: Dr Katsuya Yamada, as above.


Development of N-methyl- d-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA receptor-mediated excitatory synaptic transmission was studied in the visual cortex using organotypic slice cocultures. A slice of visual cortex (VC) dissected from newborn rats was cocultured with either a chunk of embryonic lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) or another VC. During 7–38 days in vitro (DIV), geniculocortical monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) were recorded from layer IV neurons in response to stimulation of the LGN in cocultures of the VC with the LGN. Similarly, corticocortical monosynaptic EPSPs were recorded from layers II/III and V/VI neurons in cocultures of two VCs when stimulating the partner VC. The initial slopes of the non-NMDA and NMDA receptor-mediated components of the EPSPs, which were dissociated pharmacologically, were assessed and compared among three different culture stages, early (7–11 DIV), middle (12–15 DIV) and late (17–38 DIV). With progression of the culture stage, the non-NMDA component tended to increase in both the geniculocortical and corticocortical connections. In contrast, the NMDA component exhibited distinct developmental changes. The NMDA component in layer IV neurons, which receive geniculate inputs, showed a transient increase in the middle stage. In the corticocortical connection, the magnitude of the NMDA component was large in the early stage and maintained through all culture stages in layer V/VI cells, whereas in layer II/III cells it decreased sharply by the late stage. Our results suggest that glutamatergic transmission in the visual cortex develops differently in the geniculocortical and corticocortical connections.