What is NMDA?
Professor Seth Grant explains that NMDA is an amino acid derivative very similar to glutamate - the brain's primary excitatory neurotransmitter.
NMDA is an unfortunate acronym for N-methyl-D-aspartate, and this amino acid derivative is very similar to glutamate. Now glutamate is the excitatory neurotransmitter found in most synapses of the central nervous system, and pharmacologists made this analogue called NMDA to activate a sub-type of glutamate receptors. Since there are multiple glutamate receptors, you can distinguish between them pharmacologically with different drugs, and NMDA is one of those drugs.
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Professor Tom O'Dell describes the role played by NMDA receptors, as part of a large multi-protein complex, in facilitating long-term potentiation (LTP).
Professor Seth Grant explains that NMDA receptors are important to forming memories - if we block NMDA receptors, we can block learning.
Cognitive information is encoded in patterns of nervous activity and decoded by molecular listening devices at the synapse. Professor Seth Grant explains how different patterns of neural firing are critical to cognition.
Professor Daniel Weinberger discusses evidence from a number of research areas that highlight the importance of the neurotransmitter glutamate in schizophrenia.
Doctor Josh Dubnau explains that the genes active in different neurons can make them excitatory (e.g. glutamate) or inhibitory (e.g. GABA). These neurotransmitters are critical to learning.
Professor Trevor Robbins describes some of the key functions of the excitatory glutamate system, which is integral to information processing and long-term potentiation.
Professor Seth Grant introduced the word 'hebbosome' to describe the multiprotein complex that converts neural activity patterns into a memory trace.
Professor Dennis Selkoe discusses the finding that amyloid beta seems to decrease the uptake of glutamate by synapses.
Professor Graham Collingridge describes the glutamate receptor, AMPA, the workhorse receptor for communicating information.
Professor Seth Grant highlights PSD95 as an important example of a protein associated with a neurotransmitter receptor that affects learning.