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Auton Autacoid Pharmacol. 2006 Oct;26(4):361-9.

Dopamine receptor subtypes in the human pulmonary arterial tree.

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Sezione Malattie dell'Apparato Respiratorio, Dipartimento di Scienze Cardiovascolari e Respiratorie, II Facoltà di Medicina e Chirurgia, Policlinico S. Andrea, Università 'La Sapienza', 00189 Rome, Italy.


Dopamine induces vasorelaxation of pulmonary artery primarily through an endothelium-dependent mechanism, but dopamine receptor subtypes involved in these mechanisms have not been identified yet. The expression and localization of dopamine D1-like (D1 and D5) and D2-like (D2, D3 and D4) receptors were investigated in hilar, lobar and intrapulmonary branches of human pulmonary artery by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. Pulmonary artery expresses dopamine D1, D2, D4 and D5 receptor subtypes, but not the D3 receptor subtype. Dopamine D1 and to a lesser extent D5 receptors were accumulated primarily in the endothelium of extrapulmonary branches of pulmonary artery. A faint dopamine D1 and D5 receptor immunoreactivity was found in the inner media of extrapulmonary and of large sized intrapulmonary branches of pulmonary artery, but not in medium- or small-sized intrapulmonary artery branches. Dopamine D2 and to a lesser extent D4 receptor immunoreactivity co-localized with the tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive sympathetic plexus supplying pulmonary artery was found in the adventitia and in the adventitia-media of both extra- and different-sized intrapulmonary branches of pulmonary artery. These findings suggest the possible role of dopamine receptors in the pulmonary endothelium-dependent vasorelaxing activity. The D1 receptor subtype seems to be the most involved in this mechanism. Dopamine D2-like receptors are prejunctional and are located at the level of sympathetic neuroeffector plexus. The heterogeneous distribution and density of dopamine receptor subtypes along the human pulmonary arterial tree may be related to the different functional roles of dopamine at various levels of the pulmonary circulation.

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