catecholamine

catecholamine
/kat'i kol"euh meen', -koh"leuh-/, n. Biochem.
any of a group of chemically related neurotransmitters, as epinephrine and dopamine, that have similar effects on the sympathetic nervous system.
[1950-55; CATECHOL + -AMINE]

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Any naturally occurring amine functioning as a neurotransmitter or hormone, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

All are derived from tyrosine and have a catechol group (benzene ring with two hydroxyl groups) with an attached amine group. Neurons in the brain, in the adrenal gland, and in some sympathetic nerve fibres produce different catecholamines.

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      any of various naturally occurring amines that function as neurotransmitters and hormones within the body. Catecholamines are characterized by a catechol group (a benzene ring with two hydroxyl groups) to which is attached an amine (nitrogen-containing) group. Among the catecholamines are dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

      All catecholamines begin with the amino acid L-tyrosine. Through a series of enzymatic reactions, L-tyrosine is converted to L-dopa, then to dopamine, then to norepinephrine, and finally to epinephrine. Catecholamines are synthesized in the brain, in the adrenal medulla, and by some sympathetic nerve fibres. The particular catecholamine that is synthesized by a nerve cell, or neuron, depends on which enzymes are present in that cell. For example, a neuron that has only the first two enzymes (tyrosine hydroxylase and dopa decarboxylase) used in the sequence will stop at the production of dopamine and is called a dopaminergic neuron (i.e., upon stimulation, it releases dopamine into the synapse).

      The neurotransmitter dopamine is widely distributed throughout the central nervous system and is involved in the control of movement. Norepinephrine is an important neurotransmitter in both the central nervous system and the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system. The hormone epinephrine acts in concert with the sympathetic nervous system to initiate the body's quick response to stressful stimuli (the “fight or flight” response).

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • catecholamine — type of hormone, from catechol (1880), from catechu, an astringent substance used in medicines, dyeing, etc., which apparently is from Malay kachu …   Etymology dictionary

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