organic chemical that functions both as a hormone and a neurotransmitter

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter. Many kinds of animals and humans use it to transmit information. It is used when the brain sends signals to the muscles in the body to make them move. It can make a person feel good.

Skeletal formula of dopamine.

Dopamine is an important chemical found in the brain. If the brain does not make enough dopamine, it causes an illness called Parkinson's disease. This can be treated by giving the Parkinson's disease patient a drug called L-Dopa, which the body converts to dopamine.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays many important roles in the human brain and body. If you have ADHD, scientists think that you got it from one of your parents' genes. Typically, a number of genes are involved. Many affect the dopamine neurotransmission. It is a chemical which is triggered by the feeling of being in love, or feeling affection. In most cases, it is also activated by nicotine or cocaine. It can also be activated by marijuana.


A number of studies have reported an age-related decline in making dopamine. There is also a drop the number of dopamine receptors in the brain.[1]

The reduction of dopamine with aging may be responsible for neurological symptoms which increase in frequency with age, such as decreased arm swing and increased rigidity.[2] Changes in dopamine levels may also cause age-related changes in cognitive flexibility (~ thinking).


  1. Mobbs CV, Hof PR (2009). Handbook of the neuroscience of aging. Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-374898-0. OCLC 299710911.
  2. Wang E, Snyder SD (1998). Handbook of the aging brain. San Diego, California: Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-734610-6. OCLC 636693117.