Noradrenaline and beta-adrenoceptor agonists increase activity of voltage-dependent calcium channels in hippocampal neurons

Nature. 1987 Jun 18-24;327(6123):620-2. doi: 10.1038/327620a0.


The predominance of unconventional transmitter release sites at noradrenaline-containing synapses and the diffuse projections of noradrenaline-containing fibres originating in locus coeruleus have led to speculation that noradrenaline may act as a neuromodulator in the central nervous system. Evidence suggests that it has a modulatory function in the plasticity of the developing nervous system, in controlling behavioural states of an organism, and in learning and memory. Recently, Hopkins and Johnston demonstrated that noradrenaline enhances the magnitude, duration and probability of induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) at mossy fibre synapses in the hippocampal formation, and LTP is widely believed to be a cellular substrate for aspects of memory. To investigate the membrane effects of noradrenaline on central neurons, we used a newly developed preparation in which patch-clamp techniques can be applied to exposed adult cortical neurons. We report here that noradrenaline produces an enhancement in the activity of voltage-dependent calcium channels in granule cells of the hippocampal dentate gyrus. This action appears to be mediated by beta-adrenoceptors and can be mimicked by cyclic AMP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 8-Bromo Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ion Channels / drug effects
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Isoproterenol / pharmacology*
  • Kinetics
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology*


  • Ion Channels
  • 8-Bromo Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Isoproterenol
  • Calcium
  • Norepinephrine