Overview

Neurochemical Research

, Volume 37, Issue 11, pp 2496-2512

First online:

Norepinephrine: A Neuromodulator That Boosts the Function of Multiple Cell Types to Optimize CNS Performance

  • John O’DonnellAffiliated withDivision of Glial Disease and Therapeutics, Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester
  • , Douglas ZeppenfeldAffiliated withDivision of Glial Disease and Therapeutics, Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester
  • , Evan McConnellAffiliated withDivision of Glial Disease and Therapeutics, Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester
  • , Salvador PenaAffiliated withDivision of Glial Disease and Therapeutics, Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester
  • , Maiken NedergaardAffiliated withDivision of Glial Disease and Therapeutics, Center for Translational Neuromedicine, University of Rochester Email author 

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Abstract

Norepinephrine (NE) is a neuromodulator that in multiple ways regulates the activity of neuronal and non-neuronal cells. NE participates in the rapid modulation of cortical circuits and cellular energy metabolism, and on a slower time scale in neuroplasticity and inflammation. Of the multiple sources of NE in the brain, the locus coeruleus (LC) plays a major role in noradrenergic signaling. Processes from the LC primarily release NE over widespread brain regions via non-junctional varicosities. We here review the actions of NE in astrocytes, microglial cells, and neurons based on the idea that the overarching effect of signaling from the LC is to maximize brain power, which is accomplished via an orchestrated cellular response involving most, if not all cell types in CNS.

Keywords

Astrocyte Microglia Glycogen Potassium Inflammation Synaptic scaling