Difference Between Dopamine and Serotonin

Dopamine vs Serotonin

Dopamine and serotonin are the biogenic amines, and both are known as neurotransmitters secreted by nerve cells that influence the activity of other nerve cells. These amines are very important substances as they influence mental, emotional, and physical health of humans. Even a small deficiency or excessive levels of either amine can alter the human health.


Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter, mainly used in some parts of the brain to control body movements and other related functions. This is basically involved in controlling movements and other motivational and pleasure seeking behaviors. Dopamine also modulates the transfer of information associated with memory, attention and problem-solving actions in certain parts of the brain. It can also inhibit the production of prolactin, a hormone responsible for lactation. The degeneration of dopamine- releasing neurons results in low level of dopamine, in the body. This situation causes the Parkinson disease, social phobia, attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) and major depression. The people with this condition are treated with a precursor of dopamine, called L-dopa. Excessive activity of dopamine releasing neurons in some areas of the brain may cause schizophrenia. Patients with this situation sometimes treated with drugs, such as dopamine antagonist chlorpromazine in order to block the production of dopamine.


Serotonin is a neurotransmitter used to regulate sleep and other emotional activities. About 80% of the human body’s serotonin is found in enterochomaffin cells in the gut. The excess of serotonin leads to a situation called serotonin syndrome, which has symptoms of shivering, diarrhea, muscular rigidity, fever and seizures. The deficiency of serotonin causes anxiety, depression, fatigue, and sleep and appetite disorders. The patients with deficiency of serotonin are treated with drugs like fluoxetine to block the elimination of serotonin from the synaptic cleft. These drugs are called selective serotonin reuptakes, or SSRIs.

Dopamine vs Serotonin

• Dopamine is derived from tyrosine amino acid, while serotonin is derived from the amino acid called tryptophan.

• Dopamine production is localized in the basal ganglia, whereas serotonin production is localized in the raphe nucleus of the reticular formation.

• Dopamine is used to control body movements, motivational and pleasure seeking behaviors, attention, learning and moods. Serotonin involves in regulation of sleep and other various emotional states, appetite, memory and learning.

• Dopamine is present mainly in the brain, whereas serotonin is found in both gastrointestinal tract and central nervous system.

• Serotonin is found in animals, plants and fungi. In contrast, dopamine is found only in animals.