Homeostatic mechanisms in dopamine synthesis and release: a mathematical model.
Dopamine is a catecholamine that is used as a neurotransmitter both in the periphery and in the central nervous system. Dysfunction in various dopaminergic systems is known to be associated with various disorders, including schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, and Tourette's syndrome. Furthermore, microdialysis studies have shown that addictive drugs increase extracellular dopamine and brain imaging has shown a correlation between euphoria and psycho-stimulant-induced increases in extracellular dopamine 1. These consequences of dopamine dysfunction indicate the importance of maintaining dopamine functionality through homeostatic mechanisms that have been attributed to the delicate balance between synthesis, storage, release, metabolism, and reuptake.We construct a mathematical model of dopamine synthesis, release, and reuptake and use it to study homeostasis in single dopaminergic neuron terminals. We investigate the substrate inhibition of tyrosine hydroxylase by tyrosine, the consequences of the rapid uptake of extracellular dopamine by the dopamine transporters, and the effects of the autoreceoptors on dopaminergic function. The main focus is to understand the regulation and control of synthesis and release and to explicate and interpret experimental findings.We show that the substrate inhibition of tyrosine hydroxylase by tyrosine stabilizes cytosolic and vesicular dopamine against changes in tyrosine availability due to meals. We find that the autoreceptors dampen the fluctuations in extracellular dopamine caused by changes in tyrosine hydroxylase expression and changes in the rate of firing. We show that short bursts of action potentials create significant dopamine signals against the background of tonic firing. We explain the observed time courses of extracellular dopamine responses to stimulation in wild type mice and mice that have genetically altered dopamine transporter densities and the observed half-lives of extracellular dopamine under various treatment protocols.Dopaminergic systems must respond robustly to important biological signals such as bursts, while at the same time maintaining homeostasis in the face of normal biological fluctuations in inputs, expression levels, and firing rates. This is accomplished through the cooperative effect of many different homeostatic mechanisms including special properties of tyrosine hydroxylase, the dopamine transporters, and the dopamine autoreceptors.
Best, JA; Nijhout, HF; Reed, MC
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