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3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine, C6H3(OH)2CH2CH(NH2)COOH, an amino acid.
In animals, dopa is one of the precursors in the chain of catecholamine biosynthesis. It is produced in tissues by the oxidation of tyrosine. In animals, plants, and some microorganisms, dopa is the first intermediate product in the synthesis of melanins. Healthy persons excrete from 50 to 55 μg of dopa daily with the urine; the amount increases in the presence of a neuroblastoma, a kind of malignant tumor. An inhibitor of dopa decarboxylase, a-methyldopa (Aldomet), is used in the treatment of parkinsonism and hypertension.
REFERENCESMatlina, E. Sh., and V. V. Men’shikov. Klinicheskaia biokhimiia katekholaminov. Moscow, 1967.
Grollman, A. Klinicheskaia endokrinologiia i ee fiziologicheskie osnovy. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from English.)