Dual-transmitter neurons: functional implications of co-release and co-transmission

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2014 Dec:29:25-32. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2014.04.010. Epub 2014 May 13.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents