NMDA receptor

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The NMDA receptor (NMDAR) is a ligand gated ion channel that has a voltage dependent block by Mg2+ When the cell depolarises, Mg2+ leaves the channel, unblocking it and allowing the receptor to be activated. Co-activation is required by either glycine or D-serine, along with the binding of NMDA (N-Methyl D-aspartate) or glutamate. NMDA is very specific and can only replace glutamate on this particular receptor, where glutamate can go and activate other receptors, NMDA is limited to the NMDAR. 

The NMDAR has high Ca2+ permeablitiy but also regulates Na+ and K+ movement in and out of the cell respectively. 

NMDA is thought to play a key role in synaptic plasticity due to its function as a "molecular coincidence detector", and has also been shown to contribute to excitotoxic cell death due to prolonging Ca2+ influx. 


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