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Dopamine and Renal Function and Blood Pressure Regulation

  1. Ines Armando,
  2. Van Anthony M. Villar,
  3. Pedro A. Jose

Published Online: 1 JUL 2011

DOI: 10.1002/cphy.c100032

Comprehensive Physiology

Comprehensive Physiology

How to Cite

Armando, I., Villar, V. A. M. and Jose, P. A. 2011. Dopamine and Renal Function and Blood Pressure Regulation. Comprehensive Physiology. 1:1075–1117.

Author Information

  1. Children's National Medical Center—Center for Molecular Physiology Research, Washington, District of Columbia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JUL 2011


Dopamine is an important regulator of systemic blood pressure via multiple mechanisms. It affects fluid and electrolyte balance by its actions on renal hemodynamics and epithelial ion and water transport and by regulation of hormones and humoral agents. The kidney synthesizes dopamine from circulating or filtered l-DOPA independently from innervation. The major determinants of the renal tubular synthesis/release of dopamine are probably sodium intake and intracellular sodium. Dopamine exerts its actions via two families of cell surface receptors, D1-like receptors comprising D1R and D5R, and D2-like receptors comprising D2R, D3R, and D4R, and by interactions with other G protein-coupled receptors. D1-like receptors are linked to vasodilation, while the effect of D2-like receptors on the vasculature is variable and probably dependent upon the state of nerve activity. Dopamine secreted into the tubular lumen acts mainly via D1-like receptors in an autocrine/paracrine manner to regulate ion transport in the proximal and distal nephron. These effects are mediated mainly by tubular mechanisms and augmented by hemodynamic mechanisms. The natriuretic effect of D1-like receptors is caused by inhibition of ion transport in the apical and basolateral membranes. D2-like receptors participate in the inhibition of ion transport during conditions of euvolemia and moderate volume expansion. Dopamine also controls ion transport and blood pressure by regulating the production of reactive oxygen species and the inflammatory response. Essential hypertension is associated with abnormalities in dopamine production, receptor number, and/or posttranslational modification. © 2011 American Physiological Society. Compr Physiol 1:1075-1117, 2011.