Effect of folic acid and vitamin B12 deficiencies on 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in human cerebrospinal fluid

Ann Neurol. 1982 Nov;12(5):479-84. doi: 10.1002/ana.410120512.


Indoles were measured in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from control patients, from patients suffering from folate deficiency, and from patients with vitamin B12 deficiency. The folate-deficient patients were classified according to whether they exhibited a neuropsychiatric syndrome, consisting of organic mental changes, polyneuropathy, and depression, which responded to folate administration. CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid was low in the vitamin B12-deficient patients and in those folate-deficient patients whose symptoms were not related to folate deficiency. CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid returned to normal with folate treatment in the patients exhibiting folate-responsive neuropsychiatric signs. The data indicate a close association between folate-responsive neuropsychiatric symptoms and changes in 5-hydroxytryptamine metabolism in the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Folic Acid Deficiency / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Folic Acid