Tryptophan hydroxylase and catechol-O-methyltransferase gene polymorphisms: relationships to monoamine metabolite concentrations in CSF of healthy volunteers

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 1997;247(6):297-302. doi: 10.1007/BF02922258.


Concentrations of monoamine metabolites (MM) in lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) have been used extensively as indirect estimates of monoamine turnover in the brain. We investigated possible relationships between DNA polymorphisms in the tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) and catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) genes and CSF concentrations of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG) in healthy volunteers (n = 66). Lower CSF 5-HIAA levels were found in men with the TPH U allele (p = 0.005), but not in women. A similar but less significant pattern was observed for CSF HVA. No relationship was found between the TPH polymorphism and CSF MHPG. COMT genotypes did not relate significantly to MM concentrations. The results suggest that TPH genotypes participate differentially in the regulation of serotonin turnover rate under presumed steady state in the central nervous system of men. Due to the uncertain functional relevance of the DNA polymorphism investigated and the many calculations performed, the results should be interpreted with caution until replicated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biogenic Monoamines / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Homovanillic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Male
  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Reference Values
  • Sweden
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase / genetics*


  • Biogenic Monoamines
  • Methoxyhydroxyphenylglycol
  • Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid
  • Tryptophan Hydroxylase
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase
  • Homovanillic Acid