The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor is a major type of ionotropic glutamate receptor. Many studies have shown that NMDA receptors play a pivotal role in the central nervous system (CNS) under both physiological and pathological conditions. The functional diversity of NMDA receptors can be mainly attributed to their different subunit compositions that perform multiple functions in various situations. Furthermore, recent reports have indicated that synaptic and extrasynaptic NMDA receptors have distinct compositions and couple with different signaling pathways: while synaptic NMDA receptors tend to promote cell survival, extrasynaptic NMDA receptors promote cell death. Currently, intensive efforts are being made to study the pathological role of extrasynaptic NMDA receptors in order to find a more effective approach for the treatment of neurologic disorders. Here we reviewed some recent progress on the participation of synaptic and extrasynaptic NMDA receptors in neurologic diseases including epilepsy, ischemia, schizophrenia, depression and some neurodegenerative diseases.
Keywords: NMDA receptor, subunit, extrasynaptic, Neurologic Disease, epilepsy, ischemia, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, schizophrenia, depression
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