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Orexins/hypocretins and aminergic systems


H. Haas and O. Selbach, Department of Neurophysiology, Heinrich-Heine-University, POB 101007, D-40001 Duesseldorf, Germany. E-mails:,


Orexin/hypocretin neurones in the posterior hypothalamus are mutually connected with noradrenergic, serotonergic, dopaminergic, histaminergic, and cholinergic neurone systems. They activate these targets by direct post-synaptic and indirect pre-synaptic mechanisms and in turn receive inhibitory feedback and excitatory feed forward control. With respect to behavioural state control, orexin/hypocretin neurones are conducting the orchestra of biogenic amines. This review highlights the role of these players in the control of energy administration, sleep–wake architecture, cortical activation, plasticity, and memory functions in health and disease.

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