The noradrenergic system of the brain is thought to facilitate neuronal processes that promote behavioral activation, alertness, and attention. It is known that norepinephrine (NE) can be significantly elevated in the prefrontal cortex under normal conditions such as arousal and attention, and following the administration of psychostimulants and various other drugs prescribed for psychiatric disorders. However, how NE modulates neuronal activity and synapses in the local prefrontal circuitry remains elusive. In this study, we characterized the actions of NE on individual monosynaptic connections among layer V pyramidal neurons (P) and fast-spiking (FS) GABAergic interneurons in the juvenile (postnatal days 20-23) rat prefrontal local circuitry. We found that NE selectively depresses excitatory synaptic transmission in P-FS connections but has no detectable effect on the excitatory synapses in P-P connections and the inhibitory synapses in FS-P connections. NE apparently exerts distinctly different modulatory actions on identified synapses that target GABAergic interneurons but has no effect on those in the pyramidal neurons in this specific developmental period. These results indicate that, depending on the postsynaptic targets, the effects of NE in prefrontal cortex are synapse-specific, at least in the juvenile animals.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||17|
|State||Published - Aug 29 2013|
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