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Brain Res Bull. 1992 Sep-Oct;29(3-4):303-13.

Autonomic control of neuronal-astrocytic interactions, regulating metabolic activities, and ion fluxes in the CNS.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


It is generally assumed that the brain, in contrast to all other organs, is not equipped with an autonomic nervous system, regulating blood supply, and cellular activities. This may be because systemic administration of most drugs acting on monoaminergic or cholinergic receptors have little or no effect on cerebral blood flow and metabolism. However, intrathecal administration of noradrenaline does, indeed, influence both blood flow and energy metabolism in the brain. The present review focuses on effects of noradrenaline or serotonin on energy metabolism, turnover of amino acid transmitters and ion homeostasis, with special emphasis on the cellular localization. Noradrenergic agonists stimulate brain metabolism in vivo as well as many aspects of energy metabolism, Na+,K(+)-ATPase activity and uptake of transmitter amino acids in astrocytes in primary cultures, with little or no effect on corresponding preparations of neurons. Serotonin acts differently, decreasing potassium-induced release of glutamate from both neurons and astrocytes. Little is known about the effects of acetylcholine. The functional significance of these effects is discussed.

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