Skip to content

Redefining Noradrenergic Neuromodulation of Behavior: Impacts of a Modular Locus Coeruleus Architecture

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8239-8249
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number42
DateAccepted/In press - 3 Aug 2019
DatePublished (current) - 16 Oct 2019


The locus coeruleus (LC) is a seemingly singular and compact neuromodulatory nucleus that is a prominent component of disparate theories of brain function due to its broad noradrenergic projections throughout the CNS. As a diffuse neuromodulatory system, noradrenaline affects learning and decision making, control of sleep and wakefulness, sensory salience including pain, and the physiology of correlated forebrain activity (ensembles and networks) and brain hemodynamic responses. However, our understanding of the LC is undergoing a dramatic shift due to the application of state-of-the-art methods that reveal a nucleus of many modules that provide targeted neuromodulation. Here, we review the evidence supporting a modular LC based on multiple levels of observation (developmental, genetic, molecular, anatomical, and neurophysiological). We suggest that the concept of the LC as a singular nucleus and, alongside it, the role of the LC in diverse theories of brain function must be reconsidered.

    Research areas

  • locus coeruleus, stress, pain, executive function, development



  • Full-text PDF (final published version)

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Society of Neuroscience at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    1.94 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 16/04/20

    Request copy


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups