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Neuroscience

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AMPA vs NMDA receptors

NEURO-GDL6VB

The generation of an excitatory signal throughout the central nervous system relies primarily on the neurotransmitter glutamate.

The excitatory signal that is generated by glutamate on the postsynaptic side (excitatory postsynaptic potential, EPSP) is mainly produced by two ionotropic glutamate receptors, AMPA and NMDA receptors.

These two receptors are important for generating long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), changing the strength of connections between neurons, and are a key processers in forming memories.

Which following statement is TRUE regarding the similarities and differences between AMPA and NMDA receptors?

A

When glutamate binds to AMPA receptors, it activates other ion channels on the plasma membrane by signaling them through G proteins. NMDA receptors has a channel that allows ions to flow through when activated by glutamate.

B

AMPA receptors allow calcium and other cations like sodium and potassium to flow through. NMDA receptors are only permeable to calcium.

C

AMPA and NMDA receptors are both tetrameric complexes of four subunits and use the same type of subunits, just in different combinations.

D

NMDA contains a magnesium block in its pore that restricts the flow of ions, even if glutamate is bound to it and the channel is activated. AMPA does not have a magnesium block and ions can flow through when the channel is open and activated.