A coeruleo-spinal system in culture

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  17 Jul 1981:
Vol. 213, Issue 4505, pp. 355-357
DOI: 10.1126/science.7244621


In combined cultures of dissociated spinal neurons and explants from the region of locus coeruleus, rich catecholamine-containing fiber projections from the explant to the surrounding regions of spinal neurons were demonstrated by fluorescence histochemistry. Electrical stimulation of the explant resulted in slow depolarizing responses in many of the spinal neurons. Cells exhibiting this type of response were also usually depolarized by local application of noradrenaline, whereas other, unresponsive neurons usually were not. The depolarizing responses to electrical stimulation and to noradrenaline were both increased by depolarizing current injection and decreased by hyperpolarizing current. These and other data suggest that the depolarizing responses of the spinal neurons to explant stimulation are mediated by noradrenaline released from axons of locus coeruleus neurons.