Effect of glutamate receptor antagonists on migrating neural progenitor cells


Correspondence: Dr K. E. Åkerman, as above.

E-mail: karl.akerman@helsinki.fi


Neurotransmitters such as glutamate are potential regulators of neurogenesis. Interference with defined glutamate receptor subtypes affects proliferation, migration and differentiation of neural progenitor cells. The cellular targets for the actions of different glutamate receptor ligands are less well known. In this study we have combined calcium imaging, measurement of membrane potential, time-lapse imaging and immunocytochemistry to obtain a spatial overview of migrating mouse embryonic neural progenitor cell-derived cells responding to glutamate receptor agonists and antagonists. Responses via metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 correlated with radial glial cells and dominated in the inner migration zones close to the neurosphere. Block of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 resulted in shorter radial glial processes, a transient increase in neuron-like cells emerging from the neurosphere and increased motility of neuron-like cells. α-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA)/kainate receptors are present on the majority of migrating neuronal cells, which with time accumulate at the outer edge of the migration zone. Blocking these receptors leads to an enhanced extension of radial glial processes and a reduced motility of neuron-like cells. Our results indicate that functional glutamate receptors have profound effects on the motility of neural progenitor cells. The main target for metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 appears to be radial glial cells while AMPA/kainate receptors are mainly expressed in newborn neuronal cells and regulate the migratory progress of these cells. The results suggest that both metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 and AMPA/kainate receptors are of importance for the guidance of migrating embryonic progenitor cells.