NMDA Preconditioning Protects against Seizures and Hippocampal Neurotoxicity Induced by Quinolinic Acid in Mice

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N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) preconditioning has been used to prevent cellular death induced by glutamate or NMDA in cultured neurons. Quinolinic acid (QA)-induced seizures are used to average NMDA receptors–evoked neurotoxicity in animal models. The purpose of this study was to investigate the potential neuroprotective effects of NMDA preconditioning against QA-induced seizures and hippocampal damage in vivo.


Mice were pretreated with nonconvulsant doses of NMDA for different times before i.c.v. QA infusion and observed for the occurrence of seizures. Hippocampal slices from mice were assayed to measure cellular viability.


NMDA preconditioning presented 53% protection against QA-induced seizures, as well as QA-induced cellular death in the hippocampus. The NMDA receptor antagonist, MK-801, prevented the protection evoked by NMDA preconditioning. The adenosine A1 receptor antagonist, CPT, prevented the protection evoked by NMDA preconditioning against QA-induced seizures, but not against QA-induced hippocampal cellular damage. The adenosine A1 receptor agonist, CPA, did not mimic the NMDA preconditioning–evoked protective effects.


These results suggest that in vivo preconditioning with subtoxic doses of NMDA protected mice against seizures and cellular hippocampal death elicited by QA, probably through mechanisms involving NMDA receptors operating with adenosine A1 receptors.

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