Excitatory synaptic transmission is largely mediated by glutamate receptors in central synapses, such as the calyx of Held synapse in the auditory brainstem. This synapse is best known for undergoing extensive morphological and functional changes throughout early development and thereby has served as a prominent model system to study presynaptic mechanisms of neurotransmitter release. However, the pivotal roles of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs) in gating acute forms of activity-dependent, persistent plasticity in vitro and chronic developmental remodeling in vivo are hardly noted. This article will provide a retrospective review of key experimental evidence to conceptualize the impact of a transient abundance of NMDARs during the early postnatal stage on the functionality of fast-spiking central synapses while raising a series of outstanding questions that are of general significance for understanding the developing brain in health and diseases.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors' work has been supported by grants from Canadian Institutes of Health Research , Natural Science and Engineering Research Council and Canada Research Chair Program.
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd
- AMPA receptors
- Activity-Dependent synaptic plasticity
- Developmental plasticity
- NMDA receptors
- The calyx of held synapse