Modulation of amino acid neurotransmitter actions by other neurotransmitters: Some examples

K. C. Marshall, H. Xiong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Developments in the field of central neurotransmission indicate that amino acids serve as important and widespread transmitters throughout the central nervous system. There are increasing indications from recent experimental studies that several of the other central neurotransmitters may exert potent effects on central neurons by modulating the actions of amino acids. Noradrenaline and serotonin have received particular attention as potential modulators, and a wide variety of actions has been reported for them. Modulatory actions have been reported at both pre- and post-synaptic levels, including both short- and long-term effects and facilitation or inhibition of amino acid actions. Selectivity has been found both for specific receptor subtypes of the neuromodulator and for specific effects of amino acids. Examples of such selectivity are modification of actions of an amino acid with little effect on spontaneous activity or membrane properties of the target cell, or in comparison to the actions of other neurotransmitters, or even other selective amino acid analogs. Modulatory actions on amino acids have also been reported for several other neurotransmitters including acetylcholine and various peptides. Recent studies of angiotensin II demonstrate that when iontophoretically applied, it can potently and selectively block the depolarizing action of glutamate on locus coeruleus neurons. It is possible that physiological influences of these various transmitter substances are expressed through modification of amino acid actions, rather than through direct effects on central neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1115-1122
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian journal of physiology and pharmacology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Angiotensin II
  • Glutamic acid
  • Neuromodulation
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Noradrenaline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)


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