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Cell Mol Neurobiol. 1988 Jun;8(2):171-9.

A new approach to biochemical evaluation of brain dopamine metabolism.

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National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


1. Dopaminergic neurotransmission in brain is receiving increased attention because of its known involvement in Parkinson's disease and new methods for the treatment of this disorder and because of hypotheses relating several psychiatric disorders to abnormalities in brain dopaminergic systems. 2. Chemical assessment of brain dopamine metabolism has been attempted by measuring levels of its major metabolite, homovanillic acid (HVA), in cerebrospinal fluid, plasma, or urine. Because HVA is derived in part from dopamine formed in noradrenergic neurons, plasma levels and urinary excretion rates of HVA do not adequately reflect solely metabolism of brain dopamine. 3. Using debrisoquin, the peripheral contributions of HVA to plasma or urinary HVA can be diminished, but the extent of residual HVA formation in noradrenergic neurons is unknown. By measuring the levels of methoxy-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) in plasma or of urinary norepinephrine metabolites (total MHPG in monkeys; the sum of total MHPG and vanillyl mandelic acid (VMA) in humans) along with HVA, it is possible to estimate the degree of impairment by debrisoquin of HVA formation from noradrenergic neuronal dopamine and thereby better assess brain dopamine metabolism. 4. This method was applied to a monkey before and after destruction of the nigrostriatal pathway by the administration of MPTP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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