The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) has been identified as a pacemaker for mammalian circadian rhythms. Excitatory amino acid receptors, especially N- methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, have been considered to play an important role in the transmission of light information from the retina to the circadian clocks in the SCN. In the present study, we showed that application of NMDA at circadian time (CT) 12-15 induced significant glutamate release from the SCN region in vitro. The NMDA-induced glutamate release was blocked by co-application of the NMDA receptor antagonist MK- 801, but not by that of tetrodotoxin. These results suggested that glutamate stimulated its own release by activating NMDA receptors. This NMDA-induced glutamate release through NMDA receptor-mediated mechanisms might be involved in NMDA-induced potent phase shifts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas