Behavioral Analysis of the Functional Significance of Peptide-Transmitter Coexistences

  • Jacqueline N. Crawley
Part of the Wenner-Gren Center International Symposium Series book series (WGCISS)


Immunocytochemical techniques have revealed a growing number of anatomical pathways in mammalian brain in which two or more neurotransmitters coexist within the same neuron. At first iconoclastic, the concept of coexisting transmitters is becoming more the rule than the exception, expanding our thinking about a whole new level of neuronal regulatory processes. Many examples of coexistences involving neuropeptides have been identified in brain regions which are involved in primary behavioral functions and in a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders. Our laboratory is using a behavioral approach to investigate the functional significance of peptide-transmitter coexistences. Postsynaptic sites of brain nuclei identified immunocytochemically as containing two or more neuroactive substances are implanted with indwelling cannulae for discrete microinjections in awake, behaving rats. Coexisting neurotransmitters are microinjected separately and in combination over a wide dose range. Behavioral paradigms are chosen from the literature or newly developed which are specific to each neurotransmitter at that postsynaptic site. Functional relationships are then evaluated in terms of synergistic, additive, or antagonistic interactions between the coexisting transmitters.


Nucleus Accumbens Corticotropin Release Factor Primary Transmitter Postsynaptic Site Minute Session 
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© The Wenner-Gren Center 1987

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  • Jacqueline N. Crawley

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