Dopamine

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Dopamine is a catecholamine neurotransmitter present in a wide variety of animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the brain, this substituted phenethylamine functions as a neurotransmitter, activating the five types of dopamine receptorsD1, D2, D3, D4, and D5—and their variants. Dopamine is produced in several areas of the brain, including the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area.[1] Dopamine is also a neurohormone released by the hypothalamus. Its main function as a hormone is to inhibit the release of prolactin from the anterior lobe of the pituitary.

Dopamine is available as an intravenous medication acting on the sympathetic nervous system, producing effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure. However, because dopamine cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, dopamine given as a drug does not directly affect the central nervous system. To increase the amount of dopamine in the brains of patients with diseases such as Parkinson's disease and dopa-responsive dystonia, L-DOPA (the precursor of dopamine), is often given because it crosses the blood-brain barrier relatively easily.

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