dopamine


Dopamine is the name of a neurotransmitter that has the ability to both activate and inhibit different processes that occur in the body, which originates in many areas of the nervous system (especially in the one called substantia nigra) and is released in the hypothalamus. There are five cellular dopamine receptors, among which D1 (related to activating mechanisms) and D2 (inhibitory effects) stand out. One of its main functions should be highlighted, which is to prevent the secretion of prolactin from the posterior lobe of the apophysis.

Various investigations have shown that, due to Parkinson’s disease, dopaminergic neurons in the brain die, present in the substantia nigra, altering the control over voluntary movements. For this, the precursor of dopamine is administered, L-Dopa, which, when crossing the blood-brain barrier, will be metabolized by decarboxylase until it becomes dopamine. It is not the dopamine used because it would be processed quickly, even before reaching the central nervous system, so the final effect is not the desired one.

It was artificially synthesized in 1910 by George Barger and James Ewens, employees of the Wellcome Laboratory in London. Arvid Carlsson and Nils-Åke Hillarp, ​​while the year was 1952, wrote a document that highlighted the importance of dopamine as a neurotransmitter; For this, Carlsson won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2000.

Dopamine regulates the body’s processes such as learning, milk production during lactation, sleep, cognition, motivation and reward, and mood. It is said that it is activated when a reward is received and depressed when the reward is omitted, thus learning a pattern of behavior that would condition the brain in case of being close to receiving some positive stimulus.