Deficits in the expression of the NR2B subunit in the hippocampus of aged Fisher 344 rats.
Clayton DA., Browning MD.
The NMDA receptor (NMDAR) has been implicated in the induction of LTP at hippocampal synapses, and has been proposed to play a significant role in the involvement of the hippocampus with learning and memory. Aged rats are known to have deficits in LTP, learning and memory. We tested the hypothesis that aged rats might have deficits in expression of NMDAR subunits. Aged rats have significantly lower levels of NR2B mRNA and protein compared to young animals. This complements a recent report which showed improved learning and memory in mice which overexpress NR2B. No changes were seen in either the mRNA or the protein levels of the NMDAR subunit NR2A, nor in the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole proprionate receptor (AMPAR) subunit GluR2. Our data support the hypothesis that age related alterations in the expression of the NMDAR NR2B subunit might underlie deficits in LTP and learning and memory in aged animals.