What are catecholamines?

Catecholamines are hormones synthesized from the amino acid tyrosine and produced by the adrenal glands.

These hormones are released into the bloodstream from physical or emotional stress. That is, they are the ones that prepare the body to react to situations of stress or fear.

Among other functions and consequences, catecholamines produce an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, energy consumption, improve oxygen delivery, and dilate the pupils.

Types of catecholamines

Adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine are some of the best known catecholamine hormones. Below is a description of each of these types of catecholamines.

  • Adrenaline: this hormone is generated from the oxidation of dopamine. Every time we feel an emotion, we release adrenaline. It is a sympathetic nervous system response to stress. According to different studies, the main emotion associated with adrenaline is fear. It is also involved in other activation processes of the organism such as physical exercise, heat exposure and reduction of blood levels of oxygen or glucose.
  • Dopamine: acts as a neurotransmitter and chemical message. Our level of dopamines increases when we obtain rewards, as in learning, motor control and addictions.
  • Noradrenaline: also acts as a neurotransmitter and part of the oxidation of adrenaline. It is involved in situations in which our brain believes there is danger. This catecholamine is involved in the formation of memories, maintenance of wakefulness and anxiety.

Catecholamines in aesthetic processes

We know that hormones play a very important role in the generation of cellulite, especially in women. Catecholamine hormones participate, together with estrogens and thyroid hormones, in the cellulite process.

Emotional disorders (stress and anxiety) produce an increase in catecholamines, hormones which, in the case of adrenaline and noradrenaline, in high concentrations, can stimulate or inhibit lipolysis. In fact, adrenaline is the hormone with the highest lipolytic activity in the body.

The effect of catecholamines on adipose tissue will depend on the activated beta or alpha receptor. When these hormones bind to the beta-2 receptor, lipolysis, which is the breakdown of triglycerides, is activated. However, when they bind to alpha-2 receptors, lipogenesis is activated.

In principle, if vascular dilation is activated through the secretion of catecholamines, circulation and oxygenation of the treated area is improved, which favors the production of elastin and collagen and, therefore, an improvement in the skin.

Commitment to quality

This text on catecholamines has been prepared by professional editors. In addition, we have relied on experts in medicine, engineering and aesthetics as a source of information, as well as specific studies to maintain the quality of what we publish.

At Sisneo Bioscience we are committed to publish truthful and contrasted information. And to update or correct it as soon as new knowledge becomes available.

Among others, we have used the following sources:

  • Peaston, Robert T., & Weinkove, Cyril. (2004). «Determinación de catecolaminas y sus metabolitos» en Acta bioquímica clínica latinoamericana, 38(2), 225-241. Recuperado en 20 de abril de 2023, de
  • Pan X, Kaminga AC, Wen SW, Liu A. «Catecholamines in Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis» en Front Mol Neurosci. 2018 Dec 4;11:450. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2018.00450. PMID: 30564100; PMCID: PMC6288600.