The catecholamine dopamine is a precursors in the biosynthesis of norepinephrine and epinephrine as well as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. Besides of its well known role of brain neurotransmitter, dopamine exerts specific functions at the periphery, being those at the level of the cardiovascular system and the kidney the most relevant. In fact it plays a role of modulator of blood pressure, sodium balance, and renal and adrenal functions through an independent peripheral dopaminergic system. In vivo administration or in vitro application of dopamine or of dopamine receptor agonists induce vasodilation in the cerebral, coronary, renal and mesenteric vascular beds and cause hypotension. Moreover, dopamine stimulates cardiac contractility and induces diuresis and natriuresis. Dopamine probably plays a role in the pathogenesis of arterial hypertension by regulating epithelial sodium transport, vascular smooth muscle contractility and production of reactive oxygen species and by interacting with the renin-angiotensin and sympathetic nervous systems. Dopamine exerts its actions via a class of cell surface receptors belonging to the rhodopsin-like family of G-protein coupled receptors. Dopamine receptors are classified into D1-like (D1 and D5) and D2-like (D2, D3 and D4) subtypes based on their structure and pharmacology. Each of the dopamine receptor subtypes can participate in the regulation of blood pressure by specific mechanisms. Some receptors regulate blood pressure by influencing the central and/or autonomic nervous system; others influence epithelial transport and regulate the secretion and receptors of several humoral agents. This paper outlines the biochemistry, anatomical localization and physiology of the different dopamine receptors involved in the regulation of blood pressure, the relationship between dopamine receptor subtypes and hypertension and possibilities of modulating pharmacologically vascular dopamine receptor function.
Keywords: Dopamine, dopamine receptors, heart, hypertension, kidney, peripheral dopamine system, neuroprotective, Benzoylphenyl, TNF, thiazolidinedione, PPAR?, Pioglitazone, pathophysiology, bioenergetic, excitotoxicity
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