Dopamine, an important neurotransmitter that helps to control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, is often studied in connection with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease. Now researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have discovered that dopamine produced within the kidneys, rather than the brain, is critical to maintaining normal blood pressure and salt and water balance. They showed that mice with impaired kidney dopamine production developed hypertension and died sooner than ordinary mice, despite having normal brain and plasma dopamine levels. Although dopamine has previously been associated with hypertension, this study pinpoints the important role of dopamine made in the kidneys.
Long Live Dopamine Production by the Kidneys, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, June 23, 2011
Intrarenal Dopamine Deficiency Leads to Hypertension and Decreased Longevity in Mice, Journal of Clinical Investigation, June 23, 2011