Is agmatine a novel neurotransmitter in brain?

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2000 May;21(5):187-93. doi: 10.1016/s0165-6147(00)01460-7.


Recent evidence suggests that agmatine, which is an intermediate in polyamine biosynthesis, might be an important neurotransmitter in mammals. Agmatine is synthesized in the brain, stored in synaptic vesicles in regionally selective neurons, accumulated by uptake, released by depolarization, and inactivated by agmatinase. Agmatine binds to alpha2-adrenoceptors and imidazoline binding sites, and blocks NMDA receptor channels and other ligand-gated cationic channels. Furthermore, agmatine inhibits nitric oxide synthase, and induces the release of some peptide hormones. As a result of its ability to inhibit both hyperalgesia and tolerance to, and withdrawal from, morphine, and its neuroprotective activity, agmatine has potential as a treatment of chronic pain, addictive states and brain injury.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agmatine*
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Agmatine