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Monoamine neurotransmitters are neurotransmitters and neuromodulators that contain one amino (-NH2) 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. Monoaminergic systems, i.e., the networks of neurons that utilize monoamine neurotransmitters, are involved in the regulation of cognitive processes such as emotion, arousal, and certain types of memory.
It has 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. Drugs used to increase (or reduce) the effect of monoamine are sometimes used to treat patients with psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
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.
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 (MAOIs), a class of antidepressants.
Examples (Classical Monoamines)
- Regulatory role of monoamine neurotransmitters in astrocytic NT-3 synthesis|doi=10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2009.10.003
- The monoamine neurotransmitter disorders: An expanding range of neurological syndromes|doi=10.1016/S1474-4422(11)70141-7
- A glial variant of the vesicular monoamine transporter is required to store histamine in the Drosophila visual system | doi=10.1371/journal.pgen.1000245