Organization, Control and function of extrasynaptic NMDA receptors

Thomas Papouin, Stéphane H.R. Oliet

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


N-methyl D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) exist in different forms owing to multiple combinations of subunits that can assemble into a functional receptor. In addition, they are located not only at synapses but also at extrasynaptic sites. There has been intense speculation over the past decade about whether specific NMDAR subtypes and/or locations are responsible for inducing synaptic plasticity and excitotoxicity. Here, we review the latest findings on the organization, subunit composition and endogenous control of NMDARs at extrasynaptic sites and consider their putative functions. Because astrocytes are capable of controlling NMDARs through the release of gliotransmitters, we also discuss the role of the glial environment in regulating the activity of these receptors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1654
StatePublished - Oct 19 2014


  • D-serine
  • Excitotoxicity
  • Glycine
  • NMDA receptors
  • Plasticity


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