Electrophysiological and biochemical responses of noradrenergic neurons to a non-amphetamine CNS stimulant

Dwight C. German, Manjit K. Sanghera, R. Sanford Kiser, Brian A. McMillen, Parkhurst A. Shore

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Amfonelic acid (AFA), a potent non-amphetamine CNS stimulant, has been shown previously to have marked effects on dopamine (DA) metabolism and DA neuronal activity, but no effect on norepinephrine (NE) metabolism. AFA is known to inhibit the NE neuronal uptake mechanism. Other NE uptake inhibitors, such as desipramine (DMI), have been shown to decrease the firing rate of NE-containing locus coeruleus (LC) neurons. The purpose of the present study was to compare the actions of AFA and DMI electrophysiologically on LC neurons, and biochemically on NE metabolism in whole brain. The effects of the two drugs were similar in decreasing LC firing rate, with DMI being more potent. Brain NE metabolism was not influenced by either AFA or DMI at doses considerably higher than those which were effective in reducing NE neuronal impulse flow. Thus, NE uptake inhibition coupled with a decrease in impulse flow results in no net change in NE metabolite formation. The effects of AFA on LC unit activity do not seem to be due to its marked effects on brain DA, since DA receptor blockade with haloperidol had little effect on LC unit responsiveness to AFA (or amphetamine). Whereas AFA has dramatic effects on DA metabolism via enhanced release per impulse, the drug has minimal effects on NE metabolism, and this specificity of action may be related to differences in NE and DA transmitter storage mechanisms. It is concluded that the effects of AFA on NE neuronal firing rate are likely due to the drug's DMI-like action and not to enhanced NE release per impulse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 27 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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