Excitatory amino acids (EAA) such as glutamate and aspartate are probably the neurotransmitters of a majority of mammalian neurons. Only a few previous studies have been concerned with the distribution of the subtypes of EAA receptor binding in the primate brain. We examined NMDA‐ and quisqualate‐sensitive [3H]glutamate binding using quantitative autoradiography in monkey brain Macaca fascicularis. The two types of binding were differentially distributed. NMDA‐sensitive binding was most dense in dentate gyrus of hippocampus, stratum pyramidale of hippocampus, and outer layers of cerebral cortex. Quisqualate‐sensitive binding was most dense in dentate gyrus of hippocampus, inner and outer layers of cerebral cortex, and molecular layer of cerebellum. In caudate nucleus and putamen, quisqualate‐ and NMDA‐sensitive binding sites were nearly equal in density. However, in globus pallidus, substantia nigra, and subthalamic nucleus, quisqualate‐sensitive binding was several‐fold greater than NMDA‐sensitive binding. In thalamus, [3H]glutamate binding was generally low for both subtypes of binding except for the anterior ventral, lateral dorsal, and pulvinar nuclei. In the brainstem, low levels of binding were found, and strikingly the red nucleus and pons, which are thought to receive glutamatergic projections, had approximately 1/20 the binding observed in cerebral cortex. These results demonstrate that NMDA‐ and quisqualate‐sensitive [3H]glutamate binding are observed in all regions of primate brain, but that in some regions one subtype predominates over the other. In addition, certain areas thought to receive glutamatergic projections have low levels of both types of binding.
- excitatory amino acid receptors