What is Dopamine?

What is Dopamine?

dopamine high low meaning reference range


Dopamine is one of the catecholamines. Catecholamines are hormones made by the adrenal glands. The three catecholamines are epinephrine (adrenalin), norepinephrine, and dopamine.

They are produced in the adrenal glands, the brainstem, and the brain. They circulate in the blood where they act as hormones and are broken down after just a few minutes. They are then excreted in the urine. Catecholamines have a half-life of approximately a few minutes when circulating in the blood.

Catecholamines are an important part of the body’s stress response, which can be vital in a fight-or-flight response to a perceived threat.

Stress Response System Activation. Catecholamine: Adrenaline, Do

Dopamine is widely distributed throughout the central nervous system and is involved in the control of movement.

Dopamine is synthesized from the amino acid tyrosine.

Normal ranges:

A healthy result should fall into the range 0 – 20 pg/mL.

High levels:

Catecholamines including dopamine may be elevated in the following instances:

  • After a medication withdrawal (eg, clonidine, alcohol)
  • In acute illness
  • With medications such as tricyclic antidepressants, buspirone, antipsychotic agents, cocaine, Levodopa, amphetamines, ephedrine, pseudoephedrine



The information on is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

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