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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2010, Article ID 340168, 10 pages
Research Article

Blockade of NR2A-Containing NMDA Receptors Induces Tau Phosphorylation in Rat Hippocampal Slices

1Département de chimie-biologie, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, Trois-Rivières, QC, Canada G9A 5H7
2Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, 4002 Basel, Switzerland

Received 8 December 2009; Accepted 23 February 2010

Academic Editor: Lin Xu

Copyright © 2010 Julie Allyson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Physiological activation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamate receptors has been proposed to play a key role in both neuronal cell function and dysfunction. In the present study, we used selective NMDA receptor antagonists to investigate the involvement of NR2A and NR2B subunits in the modulatory effect of basal NMDA receptor activity on the phosphorylation of Tau proteins. We observed, in acute hippocampal slice preparations, that blockade of NR2A-containing NMDA receptors by the NR2A antagonist NVP-AAM077 provoked the hyperphosphorylation of a residue located in the proline-rich domain of Tau (i.e., Ser199). This effect seemed to be Ser199 specific as there was no increase in phosphorylation at Ser262 and Ser409 residues located in the microtubule-binding and C-terminal domains of Tau proteins, respectively. From a mechanistic perspective, our study revealed that blockade of NR2A-containing receptors influences Tau phosphorylation probably by increasing calcium influx into neurons, which seems to rely on accumulation of new NR1/NR2B receptors in neuronal membranes and could involve the cyclin-dependent kinase 5 pathway.