The possibility that cortical noradrenaline (NA) is necessary for sparing of function that occurs after neonatal frontal cortex damage was examined. Spatial localization by rats with frontal cortex damage on postnatal day 7 (P7) was better than that by rats with similar damage sustained as adults. The sparing was abolished in rats depleted of cortical NA by means of neonatal 6-hydroxydopamine (6HDA) administration. The blockade of sparing in the P7 frontal operates was associated with a smaller brain, thinner cortex, and reduced cortical dendritic branching relative to saline-treated P7 frontal operates. NA depletion alone in unoperated rats did not affect spatial learning but did reduce brain size and dendritic branching. Rats with frontal lesions on P4 did not show sparing of spatial localization, and 6HDA administration had no additional behavioral effect. Overall, these data are consistent with the notion that NA has some general function in maintaining some forms of plasticity in posterior cortex.