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J Neurochem. 1993 Dec;61(6):2191-8.

Plasma 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid as an indicator of monoamine oxidase-A inhibition in rat brain and peripheral tissues.

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  • 1Department of Neurochemistry, CSIC, Barcelona, Spain.


We have examined the changes induced by the monoamine oxidase (MAO; EC inhibitors tranylcypromine, clorgyline, and deprenyl on MAO activity and 5-hydroxytryptamine (serotonin, 5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) content in rat brain and blood (plasma and whole blood). The decreases of MAO-A activity observed in the liver and lungs after different doses of clorgyline or tranylcypromine correlated significantly (r > 0.80 in all cases) with the decline of plasma 5-HIAA. This was unaffected by 0.25 and 5 mg kg-1 of deprenyl, indicating that 5-HT was deaminated exclusively in the periphery by MAO-A. It is interesting that very potent and significant correlations (r > 0.75) were found between plasma 5-HIAA and MAO-A activity, 5-HIAA and 5-HT content in brain tissue. These results suggest that plasma 5-HIAA can be used confidently as a peripheral indicator of the inhibition of MAO-A in brain. This may represent a favorable alternative to the analysis of 5-HIAA in CSF in psychiatric patients undergoing antidepressant treatment with nonspecific MAO inhibitors or with the new selective MAO-A inhibitors.

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