The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, is a glutamate receptor and ion channel protein found in nerve cells. It is activated when glutamate and glycine (or D-serine) bind to it, and when activated it allows positively charged ions to flow through the cell membrane.
The NMDA receptor is very important for controlling synaptic plasticity and memory function.
The activity of the NMDA receptor is affected by many psychoactive drugs such as phencyclidine, alcohol (ethanol) and dextromethorphan. The anaesthetic effects of the drugs ketamine and nitrous oxide are partially because of their effects on NMDA receptor activity.