Catecholamines and Affective Illness: Studies with L-DOPA and Alpha-Methyl-Para-Tyrosine

  • Elliot S. Gershon
  • William E. BunneyJr.
  • Frederick K. Goodwin
  • Dennis L. Murphy
  • David L. Dunner
  • George M. Henry
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 1)


In this paper we will review previous data and present new data on the clinical effects of L-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-DOPA) and alpha-methyl-para- tyrosine (α-MPT) in the affective disorders and on the biochemical pharmacology of these agents in man and in the laboratory animal. These studies were prompted by the catecholamine hypothesis, which remains of central importance in current research in the affective disorders (Bunney and Davis 1965; Schildkraut 1965). This hypothesis proposes that some, if not all, depressions are associated with a deficiency of catecholamines at functionally important adrenergic sites in brain, and that mania may be associated with an excess of these amines (Schildkraut 1965). Pharmacologic agents that cause an increase in active catecholamines released by appropriate neurons should be associated with alleviation of depression or production of mania, and pharmacologic agents that cause a decrease in the amount of catecholamines available to the receptor should be associated with worsening of depression or improvement of mania.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase Depressed Patient Bipolar Patient Homovanillic Acid Affective Illness 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elliot S. Gershon
    • 1
  • William E. BunneyJr.
    • 1
  • Frederick K. Goodwin
    • 1
  • Dennis L. Murphy
    • 1
  • David L. Dunner
    • 1
  • George M. Henry
    • 1
  1. 1.Section on Psychiatry, Laboratory of Clinical ScienceNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA

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