The role of dopamine in sleep-wake regulation is considered as a wakefulness-promoting
agent. For the clinical treatment of excessive daytime sleepiness, drugs have been commonly used to
increase dopamine release. However, sleep disorders or lack of sleep are related to several dopaminerelated
disorders. The effects of dopaminergic agents, nevertheless, are mediated by two families of
dopamine receptors, D1 and D2-like receptors; the first family increases adenylyl cyclase activity and
the second inhibits adenylyl cyclase. For this reason, the dopaminergic agonist effects on sleep-wake
cycle are complex. Here, we review the state-of-the-art and discuss the different effects of dopaminergic
agonists in sleep-wake states, and propose that these receptors account for the affinity, although not
the specificity, of several effects on the sleep-wake cycle.
Keywords: Dopamine, dopamine agonist, sleep-wake states, wakefulness-promoting agents, receptors, nuclei.
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