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Keywords:

  • antigen retrieval;
  • autonomic regulations;
  • immunocytochemistry;
  • visceral sensory information;
  • whole-cell recording

Abstract

The GluR2 subunit controls several key features of the alpha amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA)-type glutamate receptor including calcium permeability, rectification and gating. In the present study, electrophysiological recordings and immunocytochemistry were used to document the synaptic localization of GluR2 in the rat nucleus tractus solitarii (NTS). Synaptic responses recorded in NTS neurons exhibited linear current–voltage relationships suggestive of GluR2-containing AMPA receptor responses. Furthermore, after antigen retrieval GluR2 immunolabelling in the NTS mainly consisted of small puncta. Double-labelling experiments showed that these GluR2 puncta were apposed to glutamatergic synaptic terminals identified by type II vesicular glutamate transporter immunoreactivity. These results indicate that NTS glutamatergic synapses are endowed with AMPA receptors which contain the GluR2 subunit and are therefore likely to be both calcium-impermeable and slowly desensitizing.