Reference intervals for urinary catecholamines and metabolites from birth to adulthood

Clin Biochem. 2009 Apr;42(6):536-9. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2008.10.022. Epub 2008 Nov 11.


Objective: To establish reference intervals for urinary excretion of biogenic amines from birth to adulthood.

Design and methods: 865 outpatients were categorized into nine groups ranging from birthday to 25 years. Free catecholamines, total metanephrines, vanillylmandelic and homovanillic acids were determined in urine samples by HPLC with amperometric detection.

Results: The ratio of each analyte-to-creatinine declined gradually from birth to 15-18 years reaching adults values. No difference was observed by sex except a lower excretion of epinephrine and metanephrine in girls than in boys below 1 year.

Conclusion: Our data provide age-appropriate reference ranges for the diagnosis of tumors from neural crest in children.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Catecholamines* / standards
  • Catecholamines* / urine
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dopamine / urine
  • Female
  • Homovanillic Acid / urine
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Metanephrine / urine
  • Normetanephrine / urine
  • Reference Values
  • Sex Factors
  • Vanilmandelic Acid / urine


  • Catecholamines
  • Normetanephrine
  • Metanephrine
  • Vanilmandelic Acid
  • Dopamine
  • Homovanillic Acid