PMID: 38646Jan 1, 1979

Neurotransmitters and neuromodulators and their mediation by cyclic nucleotides

Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
G R Siggins


An effort has been made here to devise criteria allowing discrimination between neurotransmitters, modulators and mediators. However, after consideration of several technical pitfalls in studies of these criteria, and examination of the properties of two examples of neuroactive agents (norepinephrine and endorphins) often referred to as "modulators", it is still difficult to classify these agents in all cases. Thus, in most central targets where NE-fibers are known to terminate, the synaptic actions of NE appear to have properties of both a neuromodulator and a neurotransmitter. Although much more research needs to be pursued, the opioid peptides may be neuromodulators for some neurons (spinal cord neurons) and neurotransmitters for others (myenteric plexus and spinal cord neurons). It may be that classification of such peptide agonists will need to be done on a cell-by-cell basis, with the endogenous peptides subserving a multi-faceted role in central and peripheral neuronal communication. As more and more endogenous ligands and transmitter-like substances are extracted from brain, it begins to appear that the language of neuronal communication is much richer than originally imagined from responses of spinal neurons to the fas...Continue Reading

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