Measurement of plasma homovanillic acid concentrations in schizophrenic patients

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1990;14(3):271-87. doi: 10.1016/0278-5846(90)90016-a.


1. Several lines of evidence suggest that abnormalities of central dopaminergic transmission may be involved in the expression of some schizophrenic symptoms. However, elucidation of the role of dopamine (DA) in schizophrenia has eluded investigative efforts partially because no accurate and easily repeatable measure of brain DA activity exists. 2. The development of a technique to measure homovanillic acid in plasma has offered the possibility of performing serial measurements of this major DA metabolite. 3. Assuming that plasma homovanillic acid (PHVA) concentrations is an index of brain DA activity, measurement of PHVA can play a role in elucidating the DA abnormality in schizophrenia. 4. Results to date suggest that plasma homovanillic acid concentrations are lower in chronic schizophrenic patients compared to normal controls, and that PHVA values correlate with schizophrenic symptom severity. 5. In addition, PHVA levels were shown to initially rise and subsequently decline during chronic neuroleptic administration in treatment responsive but not in treatment refractory schizophrenic patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Diet
  • Homovanillic Acid / blood*
  • Humans
  • Physical Exertion
  • Schizophrenia / blood*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Homovanillic Acid