[Recent discoveries on the function and plasticity of central dopamine pathways]

Med Sci (Paris). 2010 Feb;26(2):165-70. doi: 10.1051/medsci/2010262165.
[Article in French]


Despite the fact that the neurotransmitter dopamine was discovered more than 50 years ago, we still have limited knowledge of its physiological and pathological roles. Recent work has unveiled novel and surprising properties of dopamine neurons and of other key players involved in regulating the dopamine system. For example, the integration of the dopamine signal by its receptors depends on many proteins of diverse signaling pathways and also of other types of receptors that interact with and regulate dopamine receptors: many new promising interactions have been reported during the past few years. Also, we are beginning to discover that chronic treatment with dopamine receptor ligands or other molecules affecting dopaminergic pathways induce long-term molecular, structural and functional rearrangements that could ultimately force us to revisit the mechanism of action of established therapeutic agents. Finally, the discovery of glutamate co-release by dopamine neurons is leading us to reconsider some keys aspects of dopamine neuron physiology.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Glutamic Acid / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Receptors, Dopamine / physiology
  • Schizophrenia / pathology
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Substantia Nigra / cytology
  • Substantia Nigra / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / cytology
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / physiology


  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Receptors, Dopamine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Dopamine