Dopamine

Dopamine plays a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning. Every type of reward that has been studied increases the level of dopamine transmission in the brain, and a variety of highly addictive drugs, including stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine, act directly on the dopamine system. There is evidence that people with extraverted (reward-seeking) personality types tend to show higher levels of dopamine activity than people with introverted personalities. Several important diseases of the nervous system are associated with dysfunctions of the dopamine system. Parkinson’s disease, an age-related degenerative condition causing tremor and motor impairment, is caused by loss of dopamine-secreting neurons in the substantia nigra. (From Wikipedia)

Image source Wellcome Images

A polarized light micrograph of dopamine crystals. Dopamine ias a naturally occurring precursor of norepinephrine that affects various brain processes, many of which control movements, emotional responses and the experiences of pain and pleasure. Dopamine receptors are especially clustered in the midbrain. The drug L-DOPA, used to help sufferers of Parkinson’s disease, is converted in the brain to dopamine.

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