Dopamine is one of the major neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. Central dopaminergic systems participate in a number of important physiological functions. These systems control voluntary as well as involuntary motor movements, execution of learned motor programs, and regulate the secretion of prolactin and corticotrophin. In addition, central dopaminergic systems mediate reward, enhance mood, and are important for functions like working memory and goal-oriented behaviour. The effects of dopamine tend to be relatively slow so that it may be considered to be a modulator of fast synaptic transmission. The physiological functions of dopamine are mediated by several receptors, which belong to the superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Here, we present the main features of these receptors, from their molecular and pharmacological properties to the clinical perspective.
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