Norepinephrine transporter antagonism prevents dopamine-dependent synaptic plasticity in the mouse dorsal hippocampus

Alex Sonneborn, Robert W. Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The rodent dorsal hippocampus is essential for episodic memory consolidation, a process heavily modulated by dopamine D1-like receptor (D1/5R) activation. It was previously thought that the ventral tegmental area provided the only supply of dopamine release to dorsal hippocampus, but several recent studies have established the locus coeruleus (LC) as the major source for CA1. Here we show that selective blockade of the norepinephrine transporter (NET) prevents dopamine-dependent, late long-term synaptic potentiation (LTP) in dorsal CA1, a neural correlate of memory formation that relies on LC-mediated activation of D1/5Rs. Since dopamine activation of D1/5Rs by vesicular release is expected to be enhanced by NET antagonism, our data identify NET reversal as a plausible mechanism for LC-mediated DA release. We also show that genetic deletion of LC NMDA receptors (NMDARs) blocks D1R-mediated LTP, suggesting the requirement of both a functional NET and presynaptic NMDARs for this release. As LC activity is highly correlated with attentional processes and memory, these experiments provide insight into how selective attention influences memory formation at the synaptic and circuit levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135450
JournalNeuroscience letters
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Dopamine
  • Dorsal hippocampus
  • LTP-long-term potentiation
  • Locus coeruleus
  • NMDA receptors
  • Norepinephrine transporter
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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