Dopamine (DA) is a critical neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). The cerebral dopaminergic system is implicated in the pathophysiology of several neurobehavioral disorders, including Parkinson's disease and other movement and hyperactivity disorders. The mesocortical system is a neural pathway connecting the ventral tegmentum of midbrain to the cerebral cortex, particularly the mesioprefontal lobes. It is essential to the normal cognitive function of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and involved in motivation and emotional response. The mesolimbic system is one of the neural pathways in the brain linking the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the nucleus accumbens septi (NAS) in the limbic system. DA receptors belong to a superfamily of large proteins characterized by having seven relatively hydrophobic segments that are assumed to be cell-membrane spanning. They are coupled to G proteins that interact with several membrane or cytoplasmic effector molecules (usually enzymes, transporters, or ion channels) that regulate neuronal functions.
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