Regional Decreases in α-[3H]Amino-3-Hydroxy-5-Methylisoxazole-4-Propionic Acid ([3H]AMPA) and 6-[3H]Cyano-7-Nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione ([3H]CNQX) Binding in Response to Chronic Low-Level Lead Exposure: Reversal Versus Potentiation by Chronic Dopamine Agonist Treatment


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. D. A. Cory-Slechta at Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Box 603, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, U.S.A.


Abstract: This study evaluated the hypotheses that in vivo lead (Pb) exposure would alter α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptor binding and, based on known glutamate-dopamine interactions and Pb-induced changes in dopamine (DA) systems, that AMPA binding might be differentially influenced by DA agonist treatment under conditions of Pb exposure. Alterations in high-affinity ([3H]AMPA) versus total AMPA [6-[3H]cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione ([3H]CNQX)] receptor binding were determined in medial frontal cortex, dorsal striatum, and nucleus accumbens of rats exposed to 0, 50, or 150 ppm of Pb acetate for 2 weeks or 8 months. Additional 8-month groups received chronic intermittent treatment with saline, the D1 agonist SKF82958, or the general DA agonist apomorphine. Two-week exposures increased AMPA receptor densities, whereas robust decreases occurred after 8 months of Pb; at the latter time point changes were more pronounced for high-affinity than total AMPA receptor binding, with high-affinity effects expressed preferentially in dorsal striatum and nucleus accumbens. DA agonist treatments almost fully reversed Pb-related declines in [3H]AMPA binding but either had no effect (apomorphine) or even further potentiated (SKF82958) the decreases in [3H]CNQX binding. One possible basis for the long-term (8-month) decrease in AMPA binding is a postsynaptic glutamatergic stimulation of non-NMDA receptors.