Changes in d-aspartate ion currents in the Aplysia nervous system with aging

Lynne A. Fieber, Stephen L. Carlson, Thomas R. Capo, Michael C. Schmale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


d-Aspartate (D-Asp) can substitute for l-glutamate (L-Glu) at excitatory Glu receptors, and occurs as free D-Asp in the mammalian brain. D-Asp electrophysiological responses were studied as a potential correlate of aging in the California sea hare, Aplysia californica. Whole cell voltage- and current clamp measurements were made from primary neuron cultures of the pleural ganglion (PVC) and buccal ganglion S cluster (BSC) in 3 egg cohorts at sexual maturity and senescence. D-Asp activated an inward current at the hyperpolarized voltage of - 70 mV, where molluscan NMDA receptors open free of constitutive block by Mg2+. Half of the cells responded to both D-Asp and L-Glu while the remainder responded only to D-Asp or L-Glu, suggesting that D-Asp activated non-Glu channels in a subpopulation of these cells. The frequency of D-Asp-induced currents and their density were significantly decreased in senescent PVC cells but not in senescent BSC cells. These changes in sensory neurons of the tail predict functional deficits that may contribute to an overall decline in reflexive movement in aged Aplysia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-36
Number of pages9
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Jul 9 2010


  • A. californica
  • Agonist
  • D-Asp
  • Glutamate
  • NMDA
  • Voltage clamp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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