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Decline in motor functions in aging is related to the loss of NMDA receptors

Brain Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0006-8993(01)02601-4
  • Aging
  • Motor Dysfunction
  • Nmda Receptor
  • Ampa Receptor
  • Dopamine D2 Receptor


Abstract The aim of the study was to assess the contribution of central dopaminergic and glutamatergic systems to the age-dependent loss of motor functions in rats. Rats of three age groups were compared: young (3–5-month-old), middle-aged (20–21-month-old) and old (29–31-month-old). The obtained results showed an age-dependent decline in the electromyographic (EMG) resting and reflex activities in the gastrocnemius and tibialis anterior muscles, as well as in the T-maze performance. Although these disturbances were accompanied with significant age-dependent decreases in the binding to NMDA, AMPA and dopamine D2 receptors, and a decline in the number of nigral dopamine neurons, they were significantly correlated with the loss of the binding to NMDA receptors only. The reduction in T-maze performance with aging was additionally correlated with a decrease in motor functions (EMG activity). The study suggests a crucial role of the loss of NMDA receptors in age-dependent motor disabilities, as well as in disturbances measured in the T-maze.

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