Monoamine neurotransmitter disorders--clinical advances and future perspectives

Nat Rev Neurol. 2015 Oct;11(10):567-84. doi: 10.1038/nrneurol.2015.172. Epub 2015 Sep 22.


The monoamine neurotransmitter disorders are important genetic syndromes that cause disturbances in catecholamine (dopamine, noradrenaline and adrenaline) and serotonin homeostasis. These disorders result in aberrant monoamine synthesis, metabolism and transport. The clinical phenotypes are predominantly neurological, and symptoms resemble other childhood neurological disorders, such as dystonic or dyskinetic cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and movement disorders. As a consequence, monoamine neurotransmitter disorders are under-recognized and often misdiagnosed. The diagnosis of monoamine neurotransmitter disorders requires detailed clinical assessment, cerebrospinal fluid neurotransmitter analysis and further supportive diagnostic investigations. Prompt and accurate diagnosis of neurotransmitter disorders is paramount, as many are responsive to treatment. The treatment is usually mechanism-based, with the aim to reverse disturbances of monoamine synthesis and/or metabolism. Therapeutic intervention can lead to complete resolution of motor symptoms in some conditions, and considerably improve quality of life in others. In this Review, we discuss the clinical features, diagnosis and management of monoamine neurotransmitter disorders, and consider novel concepts, the latest advances in research and future prospects for therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biogenic Monoamines / metabolism*
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Nervous System Diseases / genetics
  • Nervous System Diseases / metabolism*
  • Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*


  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Neurotransmitter Agents