Mynlieff, Michelle Department of Biology, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Charney, Dennis S. Department of Psychiatry and Connecticut Mental Health Center, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Breier, Alan Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine; Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven, Connecticut.
Southwick, Steven Department of Psychiatry and Connecticut Mental Health Center, School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.
Last reviewed:June 2018
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- Norepinephrine synthesis, storage, release, and regulation
- Medications and relationship to psychiatric disorders
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
A neuronal system that is responsible for the synthesis, storage, and release of the norepinephrine neurotransmitter. Norepinephrine (Fig. 1), also known as noradrenaline, consists of a single amine group and a catechol nucleus (a benzene ring with two hydroxyl groups) and is therefore referred to as a monoamine or catecholamine. It exists in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. Norepinephrine is the primary neurotransmitter released by the sympathetic nervous system, which mediates the “fight or flight” reaction, preparing the body for action by affecting numerous physiological functions, including cardiovascular function, gastrointestinal motility and secretion, bronchiole dilation, and glucose metabolism. Within the central nervous system, norepinephrine has been associated with several brain functions, including sleep, memory, learning, and emotions. The major clustering of norepinephrine-producing neuron cell bodies in the central nervous system lies in the locus coeruleus. This center, located in the pons with extensive projections throughout the brain, produces more than 70% of all norepinephrine in the brain. See also: Brain; Central nervous system; Nervous system (vertebrate); Neurobiology; Neuron; Sympathetic nervous system
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