Evidence for a peripheral dopaminergic neural system

  • Zdravko Lackovic
  • Maja Relja
  • Norton H Neff


Dopamine is a precursor for norepinephrine and in the peripheral nervous system it was thought that this was its only role. This view was based on the following two lines of evidence:
  1. a)

    In peripheral organs investigated until recently (heart, vas deferens, gut, adrenal gland, etc.) dopamine was present in low concentrations, representing only a few percent of the total catecholamines (Anton and Sayre, 1964; Laverty and Sharman, 1965; Snider et al., 1973). The low concentration, per se, was taken as evidence against a possible neurotransmitter role for dopamine.

  2. b)

    In the heart and salivary gland of rat it was possible to block the enzymatic conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine with drugs, thus demonstrating a precursor role for dopamine. Furthermore, inhibition of monoamine oxidase failed to produce a significant increase in the concentration of dopamine (Snider et al., 1973), thus, supporting the notion that peripheral dopamine is solely converted to norepinephrine and is not metabolized by deamination as it is in brain. On the basis of these few studies it was generally assumed that all dopamine in peripheral nerves serves only as a precursor for norepinephrine.



Attenuation Dopamine Norepinephrine Epinephrine Catecholamine 


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Copyright information

© The Contributors 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zdravko Lackovic
    • 2
  • Maja Relja
    • 2
  • Norton H Neff
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Preclinical PharmacologyNational Institute of Mental Health Saint Elizabeths HospitalWashingtonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Depts. Pharmacology and NeurologyMedical Faculty of ZagrebCroatia

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