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Brain Behav Immun. 2010 May;24(4):525-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2009.10.015. Epub 2009 Nov 5.

The immunoregulatory role of dopamine: an update.

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Department of Pathology, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


The neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) is an important molecule bridging the nervous and immune systems. DA through autocrine/paracrine manner modulates the functions of immune effector cells by acting through its receptors present in these cells. DA also has unique and opposite effects on T cell functions. Although DA activates naïve or resting T cells, but it inhibits activated T cells. In addition, changes in the expression of DA receptors and their signaling pathways especially in T cells are associated with altered immune functions in disorders like schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. These results suggest an immunoregulatory role of DA. Therefore, targeting DA receptors and their signaling pathways in these cells by using DA receptor agonists and antagonists may be useful for the treatment of diseases where DA induced altered immunity play a pathogenic role.

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