Dopamine is a neurotransmitter with multiple roles in the body.
Dopamine synthesis[edit | edit source]
Dopamine is incapable of crossing the blood-brain barrier so it must be produced in the brain for neuronal activity, or peripherally for peripheral activity.
Peripheral dopamine is produced by the adrenal glands and the gut.
Nervous system[edit | edit source]
Dopamine plays a role in executive function, motor control, motivation, arousal. The largest source of dopamine in the brain is in the substantia nigra and ventral segmental area, both components of the basal ganglia.
Immune system[edit | edit source]
Dopamine has a role in the activity of lymphocytes. It activates native t cells but inhibits the activity of activated t cells. However, dopamine may also induce the release of interleukin-17 in rheumatoid arthritis.
Inflammation may also have a role in dopamine production. A study of Hepatitis C patients found that interferon alpha treatment resulted in significantly increased levels of dihydrobiopterin (BH2) and decreased tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) as well as reduced conversion of phenylalanine to tyrosine in the cerebrospinal fluid, which are associated with decreased dopamine in the brain.
Chronic fatigue syndrome[edit | edit source]
Studies have found lower levels of the dopamine precursor tyrosine and reduced activation in the basal ganglia , the region of the brain with the highest concentration of dopaminergic neurons.
Fibromyalgia[edit | edit source]
Other conditions[edit | edit source]
Parkinson's disease involves the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain and subsequently reduced dopamine. Schizophrenia, ADHD and restless leg syndrome are also associated with altered dopamine.
In addition to its neurological effects, reduced dopamine may also have immunological effects in these diseases.
Altering dopamine levels[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- Yan, Yiqing; Jiang, Wei; Liu, Lei; Wang, Xiaqiong; Ding, Chen; Tian, Zhigang; Zhou, Rongbin (Jan 2015). "Dopamine Controls Systemic Inflammation through Inhibition of NLRP3 Inflammasome". Cell. 160 (1-2): 62–73. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.047. ISSN 0092-8674.
cofactor - A substance that acts with another substance to bring about certain effects. In biochemistry, a cofactor is a molecule that is necessary for a given biochemical reaction, but is not an enzyme or substrate of the reaction.
enzyme - a substance produced by a living organism which acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) - A controversial term, invented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, that generally refers to a collection of symptoms as “fatigue”. There have been multiple attempts to come up with a set of diagnostic criteria to define this term, but few of those diagnostic criteria are currently in use. Previous attempts to define this term include the Fukuda criteria and the Oxford criteria. Some view the term as a useful diagnostic category for people with long-term fatigue of unexplained origin. Others view the term as a derogatory term borne out of animus towards patients. Some view the term as a synonym of myalgic encephalomyelitis, while others view myalgic encephalomyelitis as a distinct disease.