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July 1959

Urinary “Epinephrines” in Patients with Mental and Emotional DisordersApparent Occurrence of an Adrenolutin-like Substance in Urines of Psychotic and Depressed Patients.

Author Affiliations

Waverley, Mass.
From the Lahey Foundation, Boston, and the Laboratory of Clinical Physiology, McLean Hospital.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1959;1(1):108-115. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1959.03590010124014

Introduction  In 1956 a colorimetric method was described for measuring the concentration of epinephrine and related substances in the urine.1 The method detected not only epinephrine and norepinephrine but other α-hydroxycatecholamines, trihydroxy or tetrahydroxyindoles, and 3,5-dihydroxy-6-oxyindoles; the method did not distinguish one from another, since readings were made at only one wavelength. The presence of greatly increased amounts of this class of substances in the urines of psychiatric patients was reported in a preliminary study in 1957.2 The present report presents findings in a much larger number of patients.The test used is based on color formation during a reaction between o-naphthalenediamine and the o-dihydroxyphenyl-α-hydroxyethylamines (epinephrine, norepinephrine, isopropylnorepinephrine), some simple derivatives (3-methoxyepinephrine and 3-methoxynorepinephrine), and indoles formed by the oxidation and cyclization of all these compounds or of certain precursors. The reaction takes place in the presence of

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