Phenylacetic acid, p-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, m-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, phenylalanine, indoleacetic acid, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid and tryptophan were measured in lumbar and cisternal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) taken during pneumoencephalography. The data suggest that the concentration of the acid metabolites of the trace amines tryptamine, phenylethylamine, p-tyramine and m-tyramine in lumbar CSF are influenced by the system that transports these acids out of CSF. In cisternal CSF this mechanism does not operate and more information can be obtained on the metabolism of the parent amines in the CNS. Our data indicate that (1) m-tyramine is relatively unimportant quantitatively (2) the rate of metabolism of phenylethylamine in human brain is similar to that of 5-hydroxytryptamine (3) the most important variable controlling the synthesis of phenylethylamine is the activity of aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (4) p-tyramine is synthesised at about half the rate of phenylethylamine and is thus quantitatively important in metabolic terms.
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