Of the countless neurotransmitters associated with the human central nervous system, dopamine is perhaps one of the most crucial neurotransmitters to understand in its pathways and signaling. Dopamine is utilized in a variety of different regions of the central nervous system, including cognition, locomotion, and emotional behaviors.
The regulation of dopamine is crucial to the well being of human health. As soon as the pathways that govern dopamine signaling, uptake, and various other aspects of its existence in the central nervous system start to get out of whack, things can start heading downhill pretty quickly.
Given the complexity and variability of dopamine pathways and signaling, it is absolutely miraculous that dopamine-related disorders aren’t more common. There are many different signaling pathways that each contain different chemical interactions that illicit responses. Specifically, the Atk-GSK3 pathway is of great importance. Disruptions in this pathway have been linked to the development of disorders such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and many others.
In the grand scheme of things, chemical reactions occurring at the molecular level seem minuscule compared to the implications that arise from a disease like Parkinson’s or schizophrenia. However, if we wish to treat these disorders to the best of our ability, we need to focus on the underlying mechanisms that produce the effects we see. Completely understanding these pathways will hopefully allow us to treat these disorders in the most optimal way and possibly even provide methods of curing diseases that have previously been incurable. Research continues to uncover more and more information about dopamine and other important neurotransmitters, and it is crucial that we keep funding and supporting this type of research.