Dopamine: an immune transmitter.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Neural regeneration research, 2020, 15, (12), pp. 2173-2185
Issue Date:
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The dopaminergic system controls several vital central nervous system functions, including the control of movement, reward behaviors and cognition. Alterations of dopaminergic signaling are involved in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders, in particular Parkinson's disease, which are associated with a subtle and chronic inflammatory response. A substantial body of evidence has demonstrated the non-neuronal expression of dopamine, its receptors and of the machinery that governs synthesis, secretion and storage of dopamine across several immune cell types. This review aims to summarize current knowledge on the role and expression of dopamine in immune cells. One of the goals is to decipher the complex mechanisms through which these cell types respond to dopamine, in order to address the impact this has on neurodegenerative and psychiatric pathologies such as Parkinson's disease. A further aim is to illustrate the gaps in our understanding of the physiological roles of dopamine to encourage more targeted research focused on understanding the consequences of aberrant dopamine production on immune regulation. These highlights may prompt scientists in the field to consider alternative functions of this important neurotransmitter when targeting neuroinflammatory/neurodegenerative pathologies.
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