Antisense oligonucleotides to the GluR2 AMPA receptor subunit modify excitatory synaptic transmission in vivo

Christine D'Aldin, Alejandro Caicedo, Jérôme Ruel, Nicole Renard, Rémy Pujol, Jean Luc Puel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In the brain, fast excitatory synaptic transmission is mostly mediated by the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-propionic acid (AMPA) subtype of the glutamate receptors. Molecular cloning has revealed that four subunits, GluR1, GluR2, GluR3, and GluR4 form heteromeric receptors with high affinity for AMPA. Because antagonists and agonists do not discriminate between individual AMPA receptor subunits, we decided to use antisense oligonucleotides to block the expression of the GluR2 subunit within the receptor complex in adult animals. In the present study, we exploited several advantages afforded by the guinea pig cochlea to determine whether an antisense oligonucleotide directed to the mRNA of the GluR2 subunit could modify primary auditory neurotransmission. While a random probe with the same base composition had no effect, a GluR2 antisense oligonucleotide, continuously delivered into the cochlea, transiently reduced the compound action potential and diminished spontaneous activity of single auditory nerve fibers. Although antisense oligonucleotides penetrated a variety of cells, their effect could be physiologically localized to a single site of GluR2 antisense probe action, the primary auditory neuron. Subunit specificity of this effect was confirmed by a significant reduction in GluR2/3, but not GluR4 immunoreactivity in primary auditory neurons. Besides being the first demonstration that transient knockout of GluR2 subunit in adult animal modifies excitatory synaptic transmission in vivo, these results support the use of the antisense strategy as a powerful tool for blocking expression of any gene in the cochlea.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-164
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 30 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Electrophysiology
  • Guinea pig
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Inner ear
  • Osmotic minipump

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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