The glycogenolytic action of norepinephrine (NE) was examined in the tottering mouse, a spontaneously epileptic mutant which presents a noradrenergic hyperinnervation of various CNS areas, including the cerebral cortex. The potency and efficacy of NE in promoting glycogenolysis were markedly decreased in cerebral cortical slices prepared from homozygous tottering (tg/tg) when compared to control C57BL/6j (+/+) mice, indicating a sub-sensitive response to a cellular action of NE. The metabolic nature of this adaptive change suggests that an impaired capacity of NE in mobilizing energy substrates may be related to the expression of the epileptic symptomatology in this mutant.