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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of noradrenaline on the firing rate of vestibular neurons.

The effects of microiontophoretic noradrenaline on the firing rate of neurons located in the vestibular complex have been studied in anaesthetized rats. Eighty-five per cent of the neurons tested in all the vestibular nuclei modified their background firing rate upon noradrenaline application, generally by reducing it (86% of them). In few cases inhibitions were followed by a rebound. Responses were dose-dependent. No significant difference was found between vestibular neurons projecting to the spinal cord and those delivering their fibres to the oculomotor complex. Phentolamine, an alpha-adrenergic antagonist, blocked the noradrenaline-evoked inhibitions, whereas beta-adrenergic antagonist timolol was ineffective or enhanced them. Furthermore, responses were blocked by yohimbine, an alpha 2-adrenergic antagonist, and mimicked by clonidine, an alpha 2-adrenergic agonist, in the majority of neurons. In few cases prazosin, an alpha 1-adrenergic antagonist, was able to antagonize weak inhibitions and phenylephrine, an alpha 1-adrenergic agonist, to evoke an inhibitory effect blocked by prazosin. Isoproterenol, a beta-adrenergic agonist was totally ineffective on the neuronal firing rate. It is concluded that noradrenaline can modify the level of neuronal activity in the vestibular complex by acting mostly, but not exclusively, through alpha 2-adrenergic receptors. An influence of noradrenergic systems on the vestibular function by a direct action of noradrenaline inside the vestibular nuclei is proposed.[1]


  1. Effects of noradrenaline on the firing rate of vestibular neurons. Licata, F., Li Volsi, G., Maugeri, G., Ciranna, L., Santangelo, F. Neuroscience (1993) [Pubmed]
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