Department of Woman and Child Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Johan.Svennilson@kbh.ki.se
The adult kidney has a high rate of dopamine (DA) production, metabolism, and signalling. The non-neuronal DA system in the adult kidney is of utmost importance for the regulation of salt metabolism. DA may also act as a transcription factor and may be of importance for tissue differentiation. In the central nervous system, D1 receptors require the dopamine- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein with a molecular weight of 32,000 Dalton (DARPP-32) to mediate their actions. The renal D1 mediates DARPP-32 activation via a cascade involving cAMP and PKA, and protein kinase C (PKC) activation via phospholipase C. Active DARPP-32 has a specific inhibitory effect on protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), leaving, e.g. Na+,K+-ATPase in a phosphorylated, inactive, state. Thus, dopamine acts as a natriuretic hormone in the mature kidney. Here, we discuss the age-dependent distribution and some functional aspects of several parts of the renal dopamine system (dopamine, AADC, COMT, D1 receptor, and DARPP-32) during renal morphogenesis.