Several Cellular Targets

The hormonal function of NE raised the question of whether NE had a classical synaptic transmission in the brain. Early studies on the noradrenergic nerve terminals concluded that they do not make synaptic contacts. But more recent data obtained from the cerebral cortex, diencephalon, and cerebellum indicated that noradrenergic nerve terminals exhibit conventional synapses. Both synaptic and paracrine modes of transmission are likely to coexist. Additionally, NE also participates in neuroastrocytic transmission. Cultured glial cells express both a- and b-adrenergic receptors. Brain b2-adrenergic receptors are bound on astrocyte membranes rather than on neurons, and contacts between noradrenergic nerve terminals and astrocytic processes bearing b-adrener-gic receptors have been observed. Stimulation of these receptors was shown to increase glycogenolysis and induce NGF release. a1-Adrenergic receptors are observed more frequently on neuronal cells (Fig. 8) but are also present on astrocytes, and their stimulation was found to reduce dye coupling in striatal astrocytes.

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