Concentrations of the monoamine metabolites homovanillic acid (HVA), 5-hydroxy-indoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) and 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenylglycol (HMPG) were determined in lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 114 healthy individuals, 18-88 years of age, without histories, symptoms or signs of central nervous system dysfunction. The mean values (+/- SD) were 253 +/- 109 nmol/l for HVA, 125 +/- 54 nmol/l for 5-HIAA, 47 +/- 10 nmol/l for HMPG, and 2.10 +/- 0.52 for the HVA/5-HIAA ratio. Analyses of confounding factors revealed that all metabolites correlated negatively with body height, the values being lower in taller than in shorter individuals. This is probably attributable to a larger surface area for monoamine metabolite transport from the subarachnoid space in taller than in shorter individuals. These correlations make statistical adjustment for body height important in analyses of monoamine metabolite levels. Without considering body height, all monoamine metabolites showed a positive correlation with age, and higher levels of HVA and 5-HIAA were found in women than men. After statistical adjustment for the influence of body height, no differences in CSF monoamine metabolites levels were found between the sexes, and only 5-HIAA showed a positive correlation with age. There were no significant seasonal variations for any of the monoamine metabolites.