Tryptophan was measured in the cisternal CSF and brains of rats. In untreated rats there was a significant but not very close correlation between the tryptophan concentration in these two compartments. Factors that change the brain tryptophan concentration such as starvation, glucose feeding, and lithium treatment affected the CSF tryptophan in the same way as the brain tryptophan. Diurnal changes were parallel for brain and CSF. When we take into account our knowledge of the disposition of tryptophan in human CSF, these data suggest that measurement of lumbar CSF tryptophan in man may be a useful approach to the study of human brain tryptophan. However, because the correlation between brain and CSF is not very close, measurements on CSF tryptophan would be more meaningful in groups of patients than in individuals.
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