Dopamine

Dopamine is a brain chemical called a neurotransmitter that carries signals between nerve cells and helps the brain perform critical functions. Dopamine helps the brain control motor functions and movement and possibly to perform other functions related to mood.

An imbalance or shortage of dopamine can cause brain dysfunction and disease. For example, in Parkinson's disease, underproduction of dopamine interferes with the transmission of signals directing movement. This can cause tremors, or shaking, often in a hand, arm, or leg as well as slow, limited movement (bradykinesia), especially when the person tries to move from a resting position.

Last Revised: December 5, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & G. Frederick Wooten, MD - Neurology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.


The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.