Dopamine activation of the arachidonic acid cascade as a basis for D1/D2 receptor synergism

Nature. 1991 Sep 12;353(6340):164-7. doi: 10.1038/353164a0.


Understanding the actions of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain is important in view of its roles in neuropsychiatric illnesses. Dopamine D1 receptors, which stimulate both adenylyl cyclase and phospholipase C, and D2 receptors, which inhibit them, can nevertheless act synergistically to produce many electrophysiological and behavioral responses. Because this functional synergism can occur at the level of single neurons, another, as yet unidentified, signalling pathway activated by dopamine has been hypothesized. We report here that in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells transfected with the D2 receptor complementary DNA, D2 agonists potently enhanced arachidonic acid release, provided that such release has been initiated by stimulating constitutive purinergic receptors or by increasing intracellular Ca2+. In CHO cells expressed D1 receptors, D1 agonists exert no such effect. When D1 and D2 receptors are coexpressed, however, activation of both subtypes results in a marked synergistic potentiation of arachidonic acid release. The numerous actions of arachidonic acid and its metabolites in neuronal signal transduction suggest that facilitation of its release may be implicated in dopaminergic responses, such as feedback inhibition mediated by D2 autoreceptors, and may constitute a molecular basis for D1/D2 receptor synergism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2,3,4,5-Tetrahydro-7,8-dihydroxy-1-phenyl-1H-3-benzazepine / pharmacology
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Arachidonic Acids / physiology*
  • Calcimycin / pharmacology
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Drug Synergism
  • Ergolines / pharmacology
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Ovary
  • Quinpirole
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Dopamine / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transfection


  • Arachidonic Acids
  • Ergolines
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Quinpirole
  • Arachidonic Acid
  • Calcimycin
  • 2,3,4,5-Tetrahydro-7,8-dihydroxy-1-phenyl-1H-3-benzazepine
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Calcium