Abbreviations used: AMPA, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid; CNQX, 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione; DA, dopamine; NMDA, N-methyl-d-aspartate; Pb, lead; PbB, blood lead.
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.