Ten years ago the Editorial Board of Clinical Science invited me to write an Editorial Review on dopamine and the kidney. The result was published in 1982 in Volume 62 [1]. It was my hope that it would serve to stimulate other investigators to take up this area of renal physiology and pharmacology and to help to solve some of the problems left unanswered at that time. Since 1982 much has happened: there have been major successes, such as the delineation of the renal and adrenal dopamine receptors, and some relative failures, such as the lack of development of clinically useful peripheral dopamine agonists for use in hypertension and congestive cardiac failure. Nevertheless, continuous progress has been made and it is my task in this Review to try to describe this general advance while not omitting remaining areas of uncertainty.

The areas which I will undertake to describe are:

  1. 1.

    The renal receptors for dopamine.

  2. 2.

    The source of dopamine in the urine and its formation in the kidney.

  3. 3.

    The actions of dopamine upon the kidney.

  4. 4.

    The interaction of renal dopamine with other substances.

  5. 5.

    Dopamine formation in hypertensive and oedematous states.

  6. 6.

    The search for specific peripheral dopaminergic agonists of therapeutic utility.

  7. 7.

    Final conclusions and unanswered questions.

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