• excitatory amino acids;
  • metabotropic glutamate receptors;
  • ACPD;
  • thalamus;
  • sensory neurobiology;
  • rats


The existence of the so-called metabotropic excitatory amino acid receptor has been known for some years. Various functions have been suggested for this receptor, but the lack of selective antagonists for (IS, 3R)-aminocyclopentane dicarboxylic acid (ACPD) has precluded the direct demonstration of a functional role for this receptor in synaptic processes. We describe here a specific antagonism of the excitatory responses of thalamic neurons to ACPD by two novel antagonists, and a parallel antagonism by these compounds of sensory synaptic responses to noxious stimuli of the same neurons. This provides the first direct pharmacological evidence for a functional role of ACPD-sensitive receptors in central neurotransmission, and indicates that these receptors may play an important part in central sensory processes.