Ascending Noradrenergic and Serotonergic Systems in the Human Brainstem

  • Kerry G. Baker
  • Glenda M. Halliday
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 43)


Together with Istvan Törk, we have examined the morphology and distribution of noradrenergic (Baker et al., 1989) and serotonergic neurons in the human brain (Törk and Hornung, 1990; Baker et al, 1991a; Baker et al., 1991b). As in other species, these neurons are confined to anatomically distinct regions. In rats, histofluorescent and immunohistochemical studies have shown that both noradrenergic (Morrison et al., 1978; Levitt et al., 1984) and serotonergic (Lidov et al., 1980) fibers project diffusely to all regions of the cerebral cortex. Although there is variation in the pattern of cortical arborization (Levitt and Moore, 1978; Morrison et al., 1978; Lidov et al., 1980; Steinbusch, 1981), both systems have uniform density of fibers which does not vary substantially across neocortical regions (Morrison et al., 1978; Lidov et al., 1980; Levitt et al., 1984). However in primates, noradrenergic and serotonergic afferents to the cortex show regional and laminar innervation patterns which have a high degree of specificity not found in the rat (Lewis et al., 1986). It has been postulated that these two systems are counteractive (Brodie and Shore, 1957). Noradrenergic neurons have been shown to fire frequently during watchfulness and vigilance whereas serotonergic neurons are quiescent during the same activity in cats (Jacobs and Azmitia, 1992).


Ventral Tegmental Area Locus Coeruleus Raphe Nucleus Dorsal Raphe Nucleus Serotonergic Neuron 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerry G. Baker
    • 1
  • Glenda M. Halliday
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PathologyUniversity of SydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Prince of Wales Medical Research InstituteRandwickAustralia

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