Three major subtypes of glutamate receptors that are coupled to cation channels are known. Recently an additional subtype that is coupled to G proteins and stimulates inositol phospholipid metabolism (the metabotropic glutamate receptor) has been proposed. The pharmacological characteristics of this receptor have now been examined. Although it shares some agonists with N-methyl-d-aspartate- and quisqualate-subtype receptors, it shares virtually no antagonists with any of the three cation channel-coupled receptor subtypes. Thus the metabotropic glutamate receptor belongs to a receptor category that is completely different from that of the other three receptor subtypes, not only functionally, but also pharmacologically.
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