Indexed on: 30 Jun '11Published on: 30 Jun '11Published in: Advances in experimental medicine and biology
Distinct populations of kainate-type ionotropic glutamate receptors (KARs), located at various cell types and subcellular compartments and utilizing diverse downstream signaling mechanisms, represent an intricate system with large capacity for modulatory effects ranging from synapse-specific changes to alterations in the excitability of large neuronal ensembles. However, the way the diverse functions ascribed for KARs are utilized under different physiological and pathological conditions to regulate activity at the level of neuronal networks is still largely unclear. Here, we address the data regarding functions of KARs in the regulation of network activity in the hippocampus, with a main focus on their roles during early postnatal development. We further discuss the evidence suggesting that KAR mediated signaling during the immature type network activity is involved in the formation and maturation of glutamatergic synapses.