Kinetics of NMDA channel opening

Jeffrey A. Dzubay, Craig E. Jahr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The period required for NMDA channels to open for the first time after agonist binding (the first latency) was estimated in outside-out patch recordings from rat hippocampal neurons using fast-application techniques and the open channel blocker MK-801. In the presence of MK-801, brief applications of L-glutamate or the low-affinity agonist L-cysteate resulted in a similar amount of block despite the much shorter period of channel activation by L-cysteate. A brief coapplication of L-glutamate and MK-801 resulted in a block similar to that found with an application of L-glutamate in a background of MK-801. These results, along with our findings that MK- 801 does not block desensitized receptors, indicate that NMDA channels have a mean first latency of ~10 msec, consistent with a peak open probability near 0.3. If NMDA channels at synapses behave similarly, relatively few channels would be required to produce the postsynaptic calcium transient associated with synaptic plasticity and developmental regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4129-4134
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number13
StatePublished - 1996


  • EPSC time course
  • NMDA
  • first latency
  • ion channels
  • kinetics
  • open probability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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