Quisqualic acid (QUIS) has been shown to interact with several glutamate receptor subtypes and uptake sites. We have previously demonstrated that a brief exposure of hippocampal cells to QUIS sensitizes them to depolarization by the α-amino-ω-phosphonate analogues of glutamate, AP4, AP5, and AP6. This QUIS-induced sensitization is accompanied by the active uptake of QUIS into hippocampal slices. In order to localize the sites of QUIS uptake into rat hippocampal slices, a polyclonal antibody against QUIS was raised in rabbits. Utilizing immunocytochemical techniques, we have identified immunoreactive axons and dendrites after brief exposure times to QUIS, and perikarya after longer exposure times to QUIS. The intensity of the QUIS immunoreactivity increased as the exposure time to QUIS increased. QUIS immunoreactivity was primarily found in stratum oriens and stratum radiatum, of regions CA1, CA2, and CA3 of the hippocampus as well as in the hilus and molecular layer of the dentate gyrus. The distribution and morphology of QUIS immunoreactive cells appeared to be similar to those of GABAergic interneurons. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) did not co-localize with the QUIS-internalizing cells suggesting that they are not glia. Ultrastructural analysis revealed QUIS immunoreactive profiles within the stratum radiatum. Immunostained profiles at both the light and EM levels appeared, in many cases, to be swollen and showed signs of degeneration. Such changes were only evident in tissue exposed to QUIS. These data demonstrate that QUIS is taken up by a select group of neurons in the rat hippocampus.
- Excitatory amino acid