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Similarities and Differences between Epinephrine and Norepinephrine

Similarities and Differences between Epinephrine and Norepinephrine

Epinephrine and norepinephrine are both essential neurotransmitters that are being secreted in the body when they are needed. Though they both share similarities in names and in chemical structures, they also possess huge differences especially in manner how they affect the body.

Norepinephrine acts mainly as a mood enhancer and is highly needed especially by those who are psychologically depressed. On the other hand, epinephrine or adrenaline is the main component that is released in the brain in times of sudden stressful events that leads to the trigger of the famous ‘fight or flight’ response by the body.

This neurotransmitter is related to N Acetyltyrosine, DL Phenylaline, and ExcitaCor.

Since both of them possess a stimulating effect, these hormones are now widely used in different medication applications. Among the two, norepinephrine is used more often, particularly as a mood enhancer for severely depressed individuals.

In terms of similarities, both epinephrine and norepinephrine are sympathomimetic agents and are almost the same in their chemical structures. Both of them are hormones and are released by the adrenal glands in the medulla. They also share common functions such as increasing the heart rate.

On the other part of the story, they also have their own differences, especially on the manner they affect psyho-activities and blood vessels. Norepinephrine triggers reactions in the brain since it is a psychoactive drug, while the epinephrine does not share the same property. This property is the main reason why norepinephrine is often used as a component for antidepressant medicines. Together with serotonin, the norepinephrine has a positive effect in the brain which enhances both mood and behavior.

In addition, these two relative neurotransmitters also differ on the way they are secreted through the blood vessels. In a situation where a flight-or-fight response is activated, these two hormones are released by the medulla but not in equal parts: 80 parts epinephrine to only 20 parts norepinephrine. Because of this, they affect the body in different ways: the epinephrine causes smaller blood vessels to restrict, while the norepinephrine is responsible for dilating almost all blood vessels inside the body.


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