Midbrain dopamine system electrophysiological functioning: a review and new hypothesis

Synapse. 1991 Oct;9(2):79-94. doi: 10.1002/syn.890090202.


The pathogenesis of a variety of neurological and mental disorders has been attributed to the malfunctioning of central dopaminergic systems. Twenty years of investigation concerning the way that dopamine systems function in the brain has yielded a great deal of information about the control and behavior of these systems. This collection of seemingly disparate facts is reviewed. A hypothesis is then presented that attempts to synthesize from these facts a view of the electrophysiological functioning of midbrain dopamine systems that may be helpful in understanding brain mechanisms underlying the pathology of such disorders as Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Communication
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Mesencephalon / cytology
  • Mesencephalon / physiology*
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology
  • Neurons / physiology


  • Dopamine