NeuroImmune Transmitters: Norepinephrine

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The NEI Connection

It is becoming clear that neurotransmitters play a greater role in the immune system than previously thought.  Norepinephrine is a catecholamine with multiple roles including acting as a hormone and neurotransmitter.  It is best known for its role in the fight-or-flight stress response along with epinephrine, but its role in modulating neuroinflammation is just becoming better understood.  Below are reviews of studies that have uncovered some of norepinephrine’s immunomodulatory effects.

  • Rommelfanger, et al. (2007) report that norepinephrine suppresses the expression of proinflammatory molecules, such as TNF- α and IL-1β, and elevates the expression of anti-inflammatory molecules, such as IκB, by signaling through α1-, α2-, and β-adrenergic receptors on astrocytes and glia.  This regulates expression of inflammatory genes and nitric oxide (NO), which are thought to contribute to neurodegenerative diseases.
  • A study by Takayanagi, et al. (2012) has found that norepinephrine regulate intestinal mucosal immune responses.  Norepinephrine suppresses the production of…

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