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A Brief Overview on Norepinephrine

A Brief Overview on Norepinephrine

Norepinephrine came from the chemical prefix nor-, from the German abbreviation for “N One Radikal” meaning N the symbol of Nitrogen without radical, refers to the absence of the methyl functional group in the nitrogen. Which also points out that it is next lower homolog of epinephrine. These two structures, the epinephrine and norepinephrine differs only in that epinephrine has a methyl group attached while in norepinephrine the methyl group is replaced by a hydrogen atom.

This neurotransmitter is related to Tyrosine Spray, Daxitrol, AdreCor, Balance D, ExcitaPlus, Calm PRT, and Avipaxin.

Norepinephrine has two multiple roles which is being a hormone and a neurotransmitter.  Norepinephrine as a hormone, it controls the attention and responding actions of some parts of the brain. It also undergoes the fight or flight response, heart rate increases directly, from energy stores glucose is released, and blood flow on the skeletal muscle increases. And as a neurotransmitter, Norepinephrine acts as an anti-inflammatory agent when it Is released on the brain.

Norepinephrine as a drug, through alpha-adrenergic receptor activation increases blood pressure by increasing vascular tone.  As a result compensatory reflex is triggered when vascular resistance is increased that direct stimulatory effects on the heart will be overwhelmed, which result into a heart rate drop.

From a dopamine by dopamine beta-hydroxylase, norepinephrine is formed. Releasing adrenal medulla into the blood acts like a hormone, and also becomes a neurotransmitter when released from noradrenergic neurons in the central nervous system and sympathetic nervous system.  Binding to adrenergic receptors the action of norepinephrine is carried out.

For indications, norepinephrine can be used for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression and hypotension. Together with dopamine, norepinephrine had been recognized having a large role in attention and focus.

 People with ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, psychostimulant medication like methylphenidate, dextroamphetamine, and Adderall are prescribed helping to increase norepinephrine and dopamine levels. A unique ADHD medication, Atomoxetine also known as Strattera which is a selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, affects only norepinephrine rather than dopamine. 

Implication in depression is caused by the differences in the norepinephrine system. Antidepressants that treat depression are Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. It increases the available amount of serotonin and norepinephrine to postsynaptic cells in the brain.

With critical hypotension, norepinephrine can be also used as a vasopressor medication. Acts on both alpha-1 and alpha-2 adrenergic receptors causing vasoconstriction, it is also given intravenously. Vasodilatory shock states such as septic shock and neurogenic shock patients mainly have been treated with norepinephrine and have shown survival benefits over dopamine.


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