Norepinephrine as a Hormone and Neurotransmitter
Norepinephrine came from the chemical prefix nor-, which indicates derivation from epinephrine or having the same structural patterns and features. Norepinephrine only differs with norepinephrine with the methyl group; hydrogen atom in a norepinephrine is changed on to its methyl group while epinephrine methyl group is joined to its nitrogen.
On biochemistry, norepinephrine is defined as a hormone that is produced in the core of the adrenal gland or the adrenal medulla and also by the sympathetic and central nerves. Its role is like a neurotransmitter which affects the impulse transfer on a nerve fiber to another nerve fiber.
When norepinephrine acts like a stress hormone, it affects responses or an action that is controlled by our brain. Norepinephrine acts freely when a normal functions or physiological changes are triggered by a stressful events or situations, causing locus ceruleus which is an activation of brain stem areas. Norepinephrine activates neurons by sending signals on the brain bilaterally on a direct path through numbers of destinations along with locus ceruleus, limbic system and the cerebral cortex. It can also sends out signal through the spinal cord. It also motivates the “fight-or-flight” reaction, heart rate and flow of blood on skeletal muscles increases, also increases the liver’s secretion of glucose.
Also norepinephrine has one more important role other than that of a hormone, it behaves like a neurotransmitter. Neurotransmitter is used to amplify, pass or relay, and transmit or receive of electrical signals into a nerve cell and another nerve cell or a neuron. In the central and sympathetic nervous system norepinephrine becomes a neurotransmitter which allows the noradrenergic neurons to flow freely through the course of the synaptic transmission. When the impulse passes between the intersection of two nerve cells by dissemination of a neurotransmitter, and so alpha together with beta adrenergic receptors norepinephrine will eventually act.
Thus on its object cell, norepinephrine acts by binding itself to and starts the adrenergic receptors. The vital cellular effect is determined on the targets cell’s reaction on different kinds of receptors and as a result, with different types of cell a different action is processed by norepinephrine.
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