The processes of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunits expression were examined in cortical neurons and rat brain in order to investigate how the concanavalin A (Con A) modulates neuronal cells. Con A modulated the expression of NMDA receptor subunits in cultured cortical cells. Con A augmented the level of intracellular Ca2+ by alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA). We determined whether activation of AMPA receptors was involved in the regulation of NMDA receptor expression with Con A by blocking the desensitization of AMPA receptors. The results showed that AMPA receptor antagonists suppressed NMDA receptor subunits expression in Con A-treated cortical neuronal cells. PMA elevated the expression of NMDA receptor subunits, while PKC inhibitor and tyrosine kinases inhibitor suppressed the expression of NMDA receptor subunits. Furthermore, it was shown that NMDA receptor subunits expression was modulated in a region-specific manner after the sustained microinfusion of Con A into the cerebroventricle of the rat brain. Collectively, it could be presumed that the AMPA receptor activation was involved in Con A-induced modulation of NMDA receptor subunits expression.