Clinical and pharmacological evidence suggested that dopamine is involved in the control of esophageal motility. The present study was designed to determine whether or not dopamine receptors are present in human esophagus. With this aim we measured adenylate cyclase activity as a biochemical index of dopamine receptor function in esophageal specimens taken from five patients during surgery for upper esophageal carcinoma. The selective D-1 agonist fenoldopam stimulated cAMP formation in the lower esophageal sphincter, but not in the esophageal body; this effect was prevented by the selective D-1 antagonist SCH 23390 and by d-butaclamol. Bromocriptine, a selective D-2 stimulator, inhibited adenylate cyclase activity in the lower esophageal sphincter, an effect blocked by the D-2 antagonist (-)sulpiride. No effects of bromocriptine were found in the esophageal body. These data indicate that both D-1 and D-2 receptors are present in the lower esophageal sphincter, but not in esophageal body and emphasize the role of dopamine in the regulation of esophageal function.
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