Role of norepinephrine in the pathophysiology of neuropsychiatric disorders

Kerry J. Ressler, Charles B. Nemeroff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The concatenation of convergent lines of evidence from basic to clinical research continues to reveal that norepinephrine (NE) is a crucial regulator of a myriad of behaviors ranging from stress response to memory formation. Furthermore, many neuropsychiatric disorders involve neuro-circuitry that is directly modulated by NE. This report summarizes the physiological roles of NE, as well as the main findings implicating a role for NE system dysfunction in mood and anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and Alzheimer's disease. In each of these disorders, there appears to be a complex dysregulation of NE function, with changes in locus ceruleus firing, NE availability, and both pre- and postsynaptic receptor regulation. Many symptoms of these disorders are attributable to abnormalities within distributed neural circuits regulated by NE. Appreciation of NE's role in modulating the neural circuitry mediating cognition and affect should help elucidate the pathophysiology of a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders and the development of novel treatments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)663-670
Number of pages8
JournalCNS spectrums
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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