Perspectives on Dopamine as a Regulator of Brain Function

  • A. Carlsson


The profound effect of cerebral dopamine on mental and motor functions is well documented. In 1957 Courvoisier demonstrated the rather extreme immobility induced by chlorpromazine, a number of congeners of this agent, and reserpine. This condition is generally referred to as catalepsy. The animal can be placed and remains in the most awkward positions. The underlying mechanism was not understood at that time, but the same year it was discovered that this condition, when induced by reserpine, could be reversed by the catecholamine precursor dopa. This led to the discovery of dopamine as a normal brain constituent, and the reversal of catalepsy could be related to the accumulation of dopamine in the brain. Five years later evidence was presented suggesting that the central actions induced by chlorpromazine and other major neuroleptics are due to blockade of dopamine receptors. Since then the literature on dopamine has grown considerably, up to about 1000 new publications every year, and it is fair to say that we have a reasonably good understanding of the role of this neurotransmitter for various brain functions, although our knowledge is incomplete in many respects (for review, see Carlsson 1987).


Dopamine Receptor Reticular Formation Ventral Striatum Dorsal Striatum Mesencephalic Reticular Formation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Carlsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden

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