Annals of neurology

Cerebrospinal fluid monoaminergic metabolites are elevated in adults with Down's syndrome.

PMID 2437853


Under conditions of rest and a low monoamine diet, brain monoamine activity was examined in young (less than 35 years) and old (greater than 35 years) adults with Down's syndrome and in control subjects by measuring the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and plasma concentrations of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, and of 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), homovanillic acid (HVA), and 3-methoxy 4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG), the respective metabolites of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. There were no age-related differences in metabolite concentrations in either the Down's syndrome or control subjects. CSF concentrations of 5-HIAA, HVA, and norepinephrine were significantly higher in young subjects with Down's syndrome as compared with young controls, and CSF concentrations of 5-HIAA and norepinephrine were significantly higher, by twofold or more, in old subjects with Down's syndrome as compared with older controls. The results suggest that monoamine turnover and brain functional activity involving monoamines is elevated in Down's syndrome, and that the early neuropathological changes in the disorder are not associated with a monoamine deficit.