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Dev Pharmacol Ther. 1990;15(3-4):224-33.

Lasting effects of early noradrenergic receptor occupation on brain noradrenaline turnover and on beta-receptors.

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Netherlands Institute for Brain Research, Amsterdam.


Neuroactive substances reaching the developing brain can affect the formation of the functionality of nervous circuitry. To explain this so-called functional neuroteratology it has been proposed that neurotransmission has persistently been altered. Pharmacological interference with the developing central noradrenergic system in the rat by means of drugs like clonidine, yohimbine and propranolol, indeed revealed lasting changes in the turnover of noradrenaline in several brain areas, but no changes were found in beta-receptor density. It is assumed that either alpha-receptor density is affected or that signal transduction is altered, since electrophysiologically a persistent supersensitivity was found for the noradrenaline-evoked depression of glutamate-evoked firing in e.g. CA1 pyramidal cells of the hippocampus. Elucidation of the underlying neurochemical mechanisms of such lasting effects of perinatal exposure to noradrenergic drugs aims at establishing the role of noradrenaline in development, but also to provide physicians with the possibility to better assess the advantages and disadvantages of drugs to be prescribed during reproduction and, hence, to make the best choice of treatment.

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