AccScience Publishing / AN / Volume 1 / Issue 2 / DOI: 10.36922/an.v1i2.148
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NMDA receptors: Biological properties and their roles in neuropsychiatric disorders

Qing-Qing Li1* Xiao Lin2 Yun Stone Shi1,2
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1 State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Model Animal Research Center, Department of Neurology, Drum Tower Hospital, Medical School, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210032, China
2 Guangdong Institute of Intelligence Science and Technology, Zhuhai 519031, China
Advanced Neurology 2022, 1(2), 148
Submitted: 4 July 2022 | Accepted: 12 August 2022 | Published: 29 August 2022
© 2022 by the Authors. Licensee AccScience Publishing, Singapore. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( )

Proper signal transmission is the fundamental process of the brain activity. Changes and adaption of neuroplasticity based on the strength of synaptic transmission are essential for the information propagation in the central nervous system, which contribute to cognition, learning, and memory. Being the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, glutamate acts primarily through binding to the glutamate receptors, the glutamate-gated ion channels localized on post-synaptic membrane. The ionotropic glutamate receptors, pharmacologically grouped into α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid receptors, N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors, and kainate receptors, have been shown to play distinct roles in excitatory neurotransmission and synaptic plasticity. Due to their high permeability to Ca2+, the NMDA receptors have very unique function in neurotransmission and particular importance in the induction of long-term synaptic plasticity. Dysfunction of NMDA receptors causes impairment in synaptic plasticity and learning and memory. In recent years, with the development of genome-wide association studies and next-generation sequencing technology, mutations of NMDA receptor subunits have been in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, such as cognitive impairment, schizophrenia, autism or epilepsy. In clinical practice, NMDA receptors are known as the targets for the treatment of many neuropsychiatric disorders. In current review, we summarize current knowledge of NMDA receptors with different subunit compositions in the context of expression pattern, channel properties, protein trafficking, and synaptic plasticity as well as their roles in neuropsychiatric disorders.

NMDA receptor
Ion channel
Protein trafficking
Synaptic plasticity
Neuropsychiatric disorders
National Key R&D Program of China
National Natural Science Foundation of China
Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province
Special Fund for Science and Technology Innovation Strategy of Guangdong Province
Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities

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Conflict of interest
The authors declare no competing interests.
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