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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cerebrospinal fluid amine metabolites in delirium tremens.

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5HIAA), homovanillic acid (HVA) and tryptophan (TRY) were measured in 14 male alcohol-dependent patients with delirium tremens. Lumbar punctures were performed immediately after admission following a standardized psychiatric examination and symptom rating in a drug-free state. Results were compared with a control group consisting of 32 neurological patients with only peripheral disorders, excluding spinal processes and abnormal routine CSF findings. All three substances were significantly increased in delirium tremens; 5HIAA showed the most marked and TRY the least pronounced increase. The statistical correction for age, height and body weight did not decrease but somewhat increased the differences. Duration of alcohol abuse did not account for the observed metabolic changes; severity of delirium tremens, however, correlated significantly with the 5HIAA and to a lesser degree with the HVA level. The further analysis revealed a differential relationship of the amine metabolite concentrations to some prominent symptoms: agitation was significantly dependent only on the HVA level while disorientation and hallucination seemed to be determined mostly by the serotonin metabolite 5HIAA in the CSF. TRY concentration proved to be unrelated to either global severity or any of these symptoms.[1]


  1. Cerebrospinal fluid amine metabolites in delirium tremens. Banki, C.M., Molnar, G. Psychiatria clinica. (1981) [Pubmed]
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