Simultaneous depletion of tryptophan, tyrosine and phenylalanine as an experimental method to probe brain monoamine function in humans
Brain monoamines are important regulators of affective and cognitive processes and are involved in the aetiology of a number of psychiatric disorders. While methods to probe serotonin and catecholamine function are established, limited methods are available to probe monoamine function as a whole in humans. In the current study, we examined if simultaneous depletion of monoamine precursors can be used as a possible probe of monoamine function. Ten healthy subjects were tested under two treatment conditions; balanced control (B) condition and combined monoamine depletion (CMD) condition. Monoamine precursor depletion was associated with significant reductions in plasma-free tryptophan (46%), tyrosine (74%) and phenylalanine (78%). Greater reductions were achieved for ratios of each precursor to other large neutral amino acids (LNAA); tryptophan/LNAA (86%), tyrosine/LNAA (94%) and phenylalanine/LNAA (94%). Findings suggest that simultaneous depletion of monoamine precursors can achieve significant plasma monoamine depletion in the range expected to affect brain monoamine function.(Received March 26 2003)
(Reviewed June 3 2003)
(Revised July 1 2003)
(Accepted July 2 2003)
Key Words: Dopamine; monoamine depletion; serotonin; tryptophan; tyrosine.
c1 Associate Professor P. J. Nathan, Neuropsychopharmacology Laboratory, Brain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University, 400 Burwood Road, Hawthorn 3122, Victoria, Australia. Tel.: 61-3-92145216 Fax: 61-3-92145525 E-mail: email@example.com