The trace amines and their acidic metabolites in depression--an overview

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 1994 Jan;18(1):17-45. doi: 10.1016/0278-5846(94)90022-1.


1. Investigations of the role of the trace amines (phenylethylamine, tryptamine, m- and p-tyramine) and their acidic metabolites (phenylacetic, indoleacetic, m- and p-hydroxyphenylacetic acids) in depression are reviewed. 2. The evidence for the phenylethylamine hypothesis of depression is mixed. 3. Reduced phenylacetic acid levels in urine, plasma and CSF and changes in those levels during treatment with antidepressants show potential as state markers for depression. 4. Impaired p-tyramine conjugation following a tyramine challenge may be a good trait marker for depression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amines / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Amines / metabolism*
  • Amino Acids / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Amino Acids / metabolism*
  • Depression / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Depression / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Amines
  • Amino Acids