Amino acid concentrations were measured in CSF samples obtained by lumbar puncture in 51 patients, cervical puncture in 16 patients, spinal drains in nine patients, ventricular taps in five patients and from below a spinal block in six patients. There was evidence of a rostrocaudal gradient for GABA and taurine and a reverse gradient for alanine and asparagine. Lumbar CSF glycine concentrations rose with increasing age whilst GABA concentrations fell. Women had significantly lower concentrations of asparagine and glutamine and elevated taurine compared to men. The influence of biological factors and gradients must be taken into account before the interpretation of changes in CSF amino acid concentrations.
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