A mechanistic study of neurotransmitters in the hippocampus

This 2015 UK rodent study found:

“A mechanistic understanding of how alterations in dopamine and NMDAR [a type of glutamate receptor that participates in excitatory neurotransmission] function can lead to the disruption of hippocampal–PFC [prefrontal cortex] functional connectivity.

These results show how dopaminergic activation induces long-term hypofunction of NMDARs, which can contribute to disordered functional connectivity, a characteristic that is a hallmark of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia.”

One of the experiments applied theta-frequency (5 Hz) waves to the rats’ hippocampi and dampened the electrical activity of the NMDAR type of glutamate receptor. However, this effect of theta waves was dependent on the activation of D2 dopamine receptors. The study’s findings should inform researchers who treat brain waves as base causes of behavior in studies such as What’s an appropriate control group for a schizophrenia study?

This study’s findings may also inform researchers of studies such as the What causes disconnection between the limbic system and the cerebrum? of a neurochemical basis for “the disruption of hippocampal–PFC functional connectivity.”

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/35/11096.full “Disruption of hippocampal–prefrontal cortex activity by dopamine D2R-dependent LTD of NMDAR transmission”

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