Dopamine in the circulation occurs mainly as dopamine sulfate, the sources and physiological significance of which have been obscure. In this study, plasma concentrations of dopamine sulfate were measured after a meal, after fasting for 4 days, and during iv L-DOPA, nitro-prusside, or trimethaphan infusion in volunteers; after dopamine infusion in patients with L-aromatic-amino-acid decarboxylase deficiency; in arterial and portal venous plasma of gastrointestinal surgery patients; and in patients with sympathetic neurocirculatory failure. Meal ingestion increased plasma dopamine sulfate by more than 50-fold; however, prolonged fasting decreased plasma dopamine sulfate only slightly. L-DOPA infusion produced much larger increments in dopamine sulfate than in dopamine; the other drugs were without effect. Patients with L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase deficiency had decreased dopamine sulfate levels, and patients with sympathetic neurocirculatory failure had normal levels. Decarboxylase-deficient patients undergoing dopamine infusion had a dopamine sulfate/dopamine ratio about 25 times less than that at baseline in volunteers. Surgery patients had large arterial-portal venous increments in plasma concentrations of dopamine sulfate, so that mesenteric dopamine sulfate production accounted for most of urinary dopamine sulfate excretion, a finding consistent with the localization of the dopamine sulfoconjugating enzyme to gastrointestinal tissues. The results indicate that plasma dopamine sulfate derives mainly from sulfoconjugation of dopamine synthesized from L-DOPA in the gastrointestinal tract. Both dietary and endogenous determinants affect plasma dopamine sulfate. The findings suggest an enzymatic gut-blood barrier for detoxifying exogenous dopamine and delimiting autocrine/paracrine effects of endogenous dopamine generated in a 'third catecholamine system'.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical