Monoamine neurotransmitter

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Norepinephrine is a monoamine neurotransmitter

Monoamine neurotransmitters are neurotransmitters and neuromodulators that contain one amino group that is connected to an aromatic ring by a two-carbon chain (-CH2-CH2-). All monoamines are derived from aromatic amino acids like phenylalanine, tyrosine, tryptophan, and the thyroid hormones by the action of aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzymes. The function of monoamine is not clear but it is thought to trigger crucial components such as emotion, arousal, and cognition. It has however been found that monoamine neurotransmitters play an important role in the secretion and production of neurotrophin-3 by astrocytes, a chemical which maintains neuron integrity and provides neurons with trophic support.[1] Drugs used to increase the effect of monoamine may be used to treat patients with psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.[2]


Metabolic pathway of phenylalanine

Phenethylaminergic trace amines and the catecholamines are derivatives of phenylalanine.

Specific transporter proteins called monoamine transporters that transport monoamines in or out of a cell exist. These are the dopamine transporter (DAT), serotonin transporter (SERT), and the norepinephrine transporter (NET) in the outer cell membrane and the vesicular monoamine transporter (VMAT1 and VMAT2) in the membrane of intracellular vesicles.[citation needed]

After release into the synaptic cleft, monoamine neurotransmitter action is ended by reuptake into the presynaptic terminal. There, they can be repackaged into synaptic vesicles or degraded by the enzyme monoamine oxidase (MAO), which is a target of monoamine oxidase inhibitors, a class of antidepressants.[citation needed]


A phylogenetic tree showing how a number of monoamine receptors are related to each other.

As demonstrated by the wide existence of monoamine transmitters, an organism's ability to modify its behavior is advantageous to its survival. This system is found in various species such as nematodes, lobsters, desert locusts, hens, mice and zebra finches.[6]


Disorders of monoamine neurotransmitters exist, part of a growing number of neurotransmitter disorders identified. Such disorders are responsible for biosynthesis degradation and difficulty in transporting neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, or serotonin. Monoamine neurotransmitter disorders mimic the symptoms of other more prevalent neurological disorders (e.g. cerebral palsy) and thus are frequently misdiagnosed.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mele, Tina; Čarman-Kržan, Marija; Jurič, Damijana Mojca (2010). "Regulatory role of monoamine neurotransmitters in astrocytic NT-3 synthesis". International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience 28 (1): 13–9. doi:10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2009.10.003. PMID 19854260. 
  2. ^ a b Kurian, Manju A; Gissen, Paul; Smith, Martin; Heales, Simon JR; Clayton, Peter T (2011). "The monoamine neurotransmitter disorders: An expanding range of neurological syndromes". The Lancet Neurology 10 (8): 721–33. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(11)70141-7. PMID 21777827. 
  3. ^ Romero-Calderón R, Uhlenbrock G, Borycz J, Simon AF, Grygoruk A, Yee SK, Shyer A, Ackerson LC, Maidment NT, Meinertzhagen IA, Hovemann BT, Krantz DE (November 2008). "A glial variant of the vesicular monoamine transporter is required to store histamine in the Drosophila visual system". PLoS Genet. 4 (11): e1000245. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1000245. PMC 2570955. PMID 18989452. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Broadley, KJ (March 2010). "The vascular effects of trace amines and amphetamines". Pharmacology & therapeutics 125 (3): 363–75. doi:10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.11.005. PMID 19948186. 
  5. ^ G. D’Andrea, S. Terrazzino, D. Fortina, A. Farruggioa, L. Rinaldi, and A. Leon (2003). "HPLC electrochemical detection of trace amines in human plasma and platelets and expression of mRNA transcripts of trace amine receptors in circulating leukocytes." Neurosci. Lett. 346 89–92.
  6. ^ Lövheim, Hugo (2012). "A new three-dimensional model for emotions and monoamine neurotransmitters". Medical Hypotheses 78 (2): 341–8. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2011.11.016. PMID 22153577. 

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