Cytisine confers neuronal protection against excitotoxic injury by down-regulating GluN2B-containing NMDA receptors.
The different expressions of NR2 and synaptic-associated proteins have been studied by protein and mRNA level with immunoblotting, in situ hybridization, or immunogold analysis. But the relationship between NR2 subunits and PSD-95 family proteins is still controversial. In this study, we used immunofluorescent staining to assess NR2B and PSD-95 expressions and the relationship between them in CA1, CA3, and DG of rat hippocampus on different postnatal day. In CA1, NR2B expression decreased with age. It was high at birth, reached a plateau at P4, and declined gradually after P7. In CA3, NR2B expression was similar to that in CA1. But the stratum lucidum was devoid of staining. In DG, the NR2B expression retained a higher level. From P0 to P2, the PSD-95 expression in CA1 increased gently, and then declined slightly. After P7, the PSD-95 expression increased sharply till P28, and decreased again. In CA3 and DG, the PSD-95 expression is very similar except that low-level of PSD-95 was found in the CA3 stratum lucidum. The expression of NR2B did not correlate with that of PSD-95 in CA1 and the DG granular and molecular layer. Only in CA3 and DG polymorphic layer, there was a negative correlation. The results suggested in hippocampal subregions, CA3 and DG may be more plastic than CA1.The NR2B and PSD-95 expression have distinct regional and cell specific distribution. The different regional distribution pattern may relate to the different physiological functions during postnatal development.