Norepinephrine is both a hormone and a neurotransmitter. As a hormone, secreted by the adrenal gland, it works alongside adrenaline (also known as epinephrine) to give the body sudden energy in times of stress, known as the "fight or flight" response. As a neurotransmitter, it passes nerve impulses from one neuron to the next.
Medications that inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine and serotonin (another neurotransmitter) may be effective to treat depression. Some studies have found elevated norepinephrine levels in bipolar patients during mania.
Schatzburg, A.F., and Schildkraut, J.J. (2000). "Recent Studies on Norepinephrine Systems in Mood Disorders." Retrieved October 8, 2006 from http://www.acnp.org/g4/GN401000092/CH090.html.
Also Known As: Noradrenaline
For a detailed look at how neurotransmitters work, see:
- Messengers of the Brain - A Simplified Look at Neurotransmitters