Scientists at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine, in collaboration with colleagues from other institutions, have found that the neurons that are responsible for the production of dopamine independently regulate how much and when to release the pleasure hormone into the brain.
Dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters produced by endocrine cells in the brain. Any moments that bring joy to a person – delicious food, pleasant smells, communication with a pet, a long-awaited rest – are accompanied by the release of this biologically active substance into the bloodstream.
Also, the death of dopamine neurons is one of the reasons for the development of Parkinson’s disease, so scientists are carefully studying this substance.
The authors of the new study decided to find out how dopamine is released in the body and for what reasons. Experts conducted an experiment – injected into some brain cells of mice botox – a toxin that prevents neurons from sending chemical signals. In the course of the experiments, specialists observed whether the cells continue to produce the hormone.
It turned out that the “paralyzed” cells stopped producing the hormone, despite the fact that they continued to receive signals from “healthy” neighboring cells. From this, the researchers conclude that the process of dopamine production is self-regulating.
Next, scientists plan to study the connection between the activity of dopamine neurons with some other factors – the same release of calcium.