Neuromodulation of neuronal circuits: back to the future

Neuron. 2012 Oct 4;76(1):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.09.010.


All nervous systems are subject to neuromodulation. Neuromodulators can be delivered as local hormones, as cotransmitters in projection neurons, and through the general circulation. Because neuromodulators can transform the intrinsic firing properties of circuit neurons and alter effective synaptic strength, neuromodulatory substances reconfigure neuronal circuits, often massively altering their output. Thus, the anatomical connectome provides a minimal structure and the neuromodulatory environment constructs and specifies the functional circuits that give rise to behavior.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents