Compound could become important new antidepressant

Chemists at Oregon State University have discovered and synthesized a new compound that in laboratory and animal tests appears to be similar to, but may have advantages over one of the most important antidepressant medications ...

Honey bees rapidly evolve to overcome new disease

An international research team has some good news for the struggling honeybee, and the millions of people who depend on them to pollinate crops and other plants.

Nanoparticle drug reverses Parkinson's-like symptoms in rats

As baby boomers age, the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson's disease is expected to increase. Patients who develop this disease usually start experiencing symptoms around age 60 or older. Currently, there's no cure, ...

Researchers seek to improve drug delivery with hydrogels

Researchers in Japan have developed a technique which allows them to control and target drug delivery to specific sites of the body at specific times, thus reducing side effects and improving treatment dramatically. The results ...

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Dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter occurring in a wide variety of animals, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. In the brain, this phenethylamine functions as a neurotransmitter, activating the five types of dopamine receptors — D1, 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. 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 can be supplied as a medication that acts 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 (levodopa), which is the precursor of dopamine, can be given because it can cross the blood-brain barrier.

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