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CSF monoamine metabolites in melancholia

CSF monoamine metabolites in melancholia

Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 69(3): 201-219

The neurotransmitter metabolites 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), homovanillic acid (HVA) and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl glycol (HMPG) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were measured by mass fragmentography in 83 patients with melancholia (diagnosed by the Newcastle Inventory and the Research Diagnostic Criteria), and 66 healthy volunteer controls. After adjustment by analysis of covariance for differences between the subject groups in body height, age and sex distribution, significantly (P less than 0.001) lower concentrations of 5-HIAA and HVA were found in the melancholia patients than in the controls. HMPG did not differ between the groups. The differences could not be accounted for by differences in timing or examination techniques, and not by previously administered drugs (all patients were drug-free at the examination, but a minority had taken small amounts of psychotropic drugs prior to the wash-out period). The differences persisted after excluding the suicidal patients. There were no clear-cut differences between unipolar and bipolar patients. It is suggested that the reduced concentrations of 5-HIAA and HVA in the melancholic patients may be due to altered serotonin and/or dopamine functions in the central nervous system, which may be connected with an increased vulnerability to certain types of affective illness.

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Accession: 042429327

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PMID: 6201041

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