Cerebrospinal fluid monoamine precursor and metabolite levels in children treated for leukemia: Age and sex effects and individual variability

Mark A. Riddle, George M. Anderson, Sue McIntosh, Diane F. Harcherik, Bennett A. Shaywitz, Donald J. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was obtained from children during and following treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). One hundred ninety-two CSF samples from 50 subjects, which were selected to minimize the effects of the disease and its treatment (i.e., to approach "normality" as closely as possible), were analyzed for the monoamine precursors tyrosine (Tyr) and tryptophan (Trp) and the metabolites homo- vanillic acid (HVA) and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA). Levels of HVA (p < 0.0001), 5-HIAA (p < 0.002), and Tyr (p < 0.05) decreased with age from 3 to 17 years. Sig- nificant correlations were observed between the acid metabolites HVA and 5-HIAA (r = 0.79) and between the amino acid precursors Tyr and Trp (r = 0.71). Within individuals, levels of all four compounds were relatively stable over time, with total mean coefficient of variation ranging from 20% to 25%. No significant sex differences for CSF levels of HVA, 5-HIAA, Tyr, or Trp were found. Assessment of CSF monoamine precursors and metabolites in children treated for ALL may provide a method for understanding the chronic effect of CNS trauma on the ontogeny of monoamine systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-83
Number of pages15
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

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