We examined whether norepinephrine originating in the locus coeruleus mediates the micturition reflex in anesthetized cats. 6-Hydroxydopamine, a catecholamine neurotoxin, injected bilaterally into the locus coeruleus markedly decreased catecholamine fluorescence in the lesioned area and induced urinary retention after 72 to 84 hr. At this time, there was no or only slight contraction of the urinary bladder induced by its distension, while the contraction was noted before the treatment. However, phenylephrine, an alpha 1-receptor agonist, applied intrathecally in 6-hydroxydopamine-treated animals induced moderate bladder contraction. In sham-operated animals, the bladder contraction on its distension was inhibited by intrathecally applied prazosin, an alpha 1-receptor antagonist. Thus, in the micturition reflex, norepinephrine derived from the locus coeruleus acts on the alpha 1-adrenergic receptors in the sacral cord, and induces urinary bladder contraction via activation of the sacral parasympathetic preganglionic neurons.