Kainate receptor modification in the fetal guinea pig brain during hypoxia

Om Prakash Mishra, Joanna A. Kubin, Jane E. McGowan, M. Delivoria-Papadopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The present study tests the hypothesis that hypoxia alters the high-affinity kainate receptors in fetal guinea pig brain. Experiments were conducted in normoxic and hypoxic guinea pig fetus at preterm (45 days of gestation) and term (60 days of gestation). Hypoxia in the guinea pig fetus was induced by exposure to maternal hypoxia (FiO2=7%) for 60 min. Brain tissue hypoxia in the fetus was documented biochemically by decreased levels of ATP and phosphorreatine. [3H]-Kainate binding characteristics (Bmax=number of receptors, Kd=dissociation constant) were used as indices of kainate receptor modification. P2 membrane fractions were prepared from the cortex of normoxic and hypoxic fetuses and were washed six times prior to performing the binding assays. [3H]kainate binding was performed at 0°C for 30 min in a 500 μl medium containing 50 mM Tris-HCl buffer, 0.1 mM EDTA (pH 7.4), 300 μg protein and varying concentrations of radiolabelled kainate ranging from 1 to 200 nM. Non-specific binding was determined in the presence of 1.0 mM glutamate. During brain development from 45 to 60 days gestation, Bmax value increased from 330±16 to 417±10 fmoles/mg protein; however, the Kd was unchanged (8.2±0.4 vs 8.8±0.5 nM, respectively). During hypoxia at 60 days, the Kd value significantly increased as compared to normoxic control (15.5±0.7 vs 8.8±0.5 nM, respectively), whereas the Bmax was not affected (435±12 vs 417±10 fmol/mg protein, respectively). At 45 days, hypoxia also increased the Kd (11.9±0.6 vs 8.2±0.4 nM) without affecting the Bmax (290±15 vs 330±16 fmol/mg protein, respectively). The results show that the number of kainate receptors increase during gestation without change in affinity and demonstrate that hypoxia modifies the high-affinity kainate receptor sites at both ages; however the effect is much stronger at 60 days (term). The decreased affinity of the site could decrease the kainate receptor-mediated fast kinetics of desensitization and provide a longer period for increased Na+-influx, leading to increased accumulation of intracellular Ca2+ by reversal of the Na+-Ca2+ exchange mechanism. In addition, Kd values for kainate-type glutamate receptor sites are 30-40 fold lower (i.e. higher affinity) than those for NMDA-displaceable glutamate sites. The higher affinity suggests that the activation of the kainate-type glutamate receptor during hypoxia could precede initiation of NMDA receptormediated excitotoxic mechanisms. We propose that hypoxia-induced modification of the high affinity kainate receptor in the fetus is a potential mechanism of neuroexcitotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1171-1177
Number of pages7
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • brain
  • development
  • fetus
  • hypoxia
  • Kainate receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry


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