Co-transmission, the ability of a neuron to release multiple transmitters, has long been recognized in selected circuits. However, the release of multiple primary neurotransmitters from a single neuron is only beginning to be appreciated. Here we consider recent examples of co-transmission as well as co-release-the packaging of multiple neurotransmitters into a single vesicle. The properties associated with each mode of release greatly enhance the possible action of such neurons within circuits. The functional importance of dual- (or multi-) transmitter neurons extends beyond actions on postsynaptic receptors, due in part to differential spatial and temporal profiles of each neurotransmitter. Recent evidence also suggests that the dual-transmitter phenotype can be dynamically regulated during development and following injury or disease.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.