Resting cardiac sympathetic firing frequencies suppress terminal norepinephrine transporter uptake

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The prejunctional norepinephrine transporter (NET) is responsible for the clearance of released norepinephrine (NE) back into the sympathetic nerve terminal. NET regulation must be tightly controlled as variations could have important implications for neurotransmission. Thus far, the effects of sympathetic neuronal activity on NET function have been unclear. Here, we optically monitor single-terminal cardiac NET activity ex vivo in response to a broad range of sympathetic postganglionic action potential (AP) firing frequencies.

Isolated murine left atrial appendages were loaded with a fluorescent NET substrate [Neurotransmitter Transporter Uptake Assay (NTUA)] and imaged with confocal microscopy. Sympathetic APs were induced with electrical field stimulation at 0.2-10 Hz (0.1-0.2 ms pulse width). Exogenous NE was applied during the NTUA uptake- and washout phases to investigate substrate competition and displacement, respectively, on transport.

Single-terminal NET reuptake rate was rapidly suppressed in a frequency-dependent manner with an inhibitory EF50 of 0.9 Hz. At 2 Hz, the effect was reversed by the a2-adrenoceptor antagonist yohimbine (1 µM) (p<0.01) with no further effect imposed by the muscarinic receptor antagonist atropine (1 µM). Additionally, high exogenous NE concentrations abolished NET reuptake (1 µM NE; p<0.0001) and displaced terminal specific NTUA during washout (1-100 µM NE; p<0.0001). We have also identified 훼2-adrenoceptor-induced suppression of NET reuptake rate during resting stimulation frequencies, which could oppose the effect of autoinhibition-mediated suppression of exocytosis and thus amplify the effects of sympathetic drive on cardiac function.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102794
Number of pages10
JournalAutonomic Neuroscience
Early online date27 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Heart Function Tests
  • Sympathetic nervous system
  • adrenoceptors
  • noradrenalin transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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