Studies on the Mechanism of Action of 6-Methoxytetrahydro-β-Carboline in Elevating Brain Serotonin

  • Beng T. Ho
  • Dorothy Taylor
  • William M. McIsaac
Part of the Advances in Behavioral Biology book series (ABBI, volume 1)


Over many years, the involvement of biogenic amines in the mediation of depression has been substantiated. Still remaining to be answered is the question whether low brain serotonin (5-HT) or norepinephrine (NE) is specifically responsible for this abnormal state. The evidence that elevating the level of brain 5-HT alleviates depression was first presented by Coppen, Shaw, and Farrell (1963). They reported that administration of tryptophan to depressed patients potentiated the antidepressant action of a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor. Additional elaboration on this subject was presented by Glassman (1969). If resolution of the problem as to the function of these amines lies in the differential elevation of a specific amine, then it would seem desirable to have an agent that would specifically elevate only one brain amine.


Mouse Brain Propylene Glycol Tryptophan Hydroxylase Brain Serotonin Large Percentage Increase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bogdanski, D. F.; Pletscher, A.; Brodie, B. B.; and Udenfriend, S. 1956. The estimation of 5-hydroxytryptamine in biological tissue. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 117:82.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bulat, M., and Supek, Z. 1967. The penetration of 5-hydroxytrypt-amine through the blood-brain barrier. J. Neurochem. 14:265.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Coppen, A.; Shaw, D. M.; and Farrell, J. D. 1963. Potentiation of the antidepressive effect of a monoamine oxidase inhibitor by tryptophan. Lancet 1:79.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Curzon, G., and Green, A. R. 1970. Rapid method for the determination of 5-hydroxytryptamine and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in small regions of rat brain. Brit. J. Pharmacol. 39:653.Google Scholar
  5. Crawford, N., and Rudd, B. T. 1962. A spectrophotofluorimetric method for the determination of serotonin in plasma. Clin. Chim. Acta 7:14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Giacalone, E., and Valzelli, L. 1966. A method for the determination of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in brain. J. Neurochem. 13:1265.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Giarman, N. J.; Freedman, D. X.; and Schanberg, S. M. 1964. In Progress in Brain Research, vol. 8. H. E. Himwich and W. A. Him-wich (eds.). New York: Elsevier Publishing Co., p. 72.Google Scholar
  8. Glassman, A. 1969. Indoleamihes and affective disorders. Psycho-som. Med. 31:107.Google Scholar
  9. Ho, B. T.; McIsaac, W. M.; Walker, K. E.; and Estevez, V. 1968. Inhibitors of monoamine oxidase-influence of methyl substitution on the inhibitory activity of β-carbolines. J. Pharm. Sci. 57:269.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Knox, W. E. 1955. Tryptophan oxidation. In Methods in Enzymology, vol. 11. S. P. Colowick and N. O. Kaplan (eds.). New York: Academic Press, p. 242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lovenberg, W.; Jequier, E.; and Sjoerdsma, A. 1967. Tryptophan hy-droxylation: Measurement in pineal gland, brainstern, and carcin-oid tumor. Science 155:217.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Shore, P. A., and Olin, J. S. 1958. Identification and chemical assay of norepinephrine in brain and other tissues. J. Pharmacol. Exp. Ther. 122:295.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Snyder, S., and Axelrod, J. 1964. A sensitive assay for 5-hydroxy-tryptophan decarboxylase. Biochem. Pharmacol. 13:805.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Udenfriend, S.; Weissbach, H.; and Brodie, B. B. 1958. Assay of serotonin and related metabolites, enzymes and drugs. Meth. Bio-chem. Anal. 6:95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Wiegland, R. G., and Perry, J. E. 1961. Effect of L-Dopa and N-methyl-N-benzyl-2-propynylamine HCl on Dopa, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine and serotonin levels in mouse brain. Biochem. Pharmacol. 7:181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beng T. Ho
    • 1
  • Dorothy Taylor
    • 1
  • William M. McIsaac
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas Research Institute of Mental SciencesHoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations