[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
February 1986

Neurochemistry of Dopamine in Huntington's Dementia and Normal Aging

Author Affiliations

From the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Medical Center, Norris Mental Health Clinical Research Center, and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Drs Stahl and Berger and Ms Theimann), and the Nancy Pritzker Laboratory of Behavioral Neurochemistry and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (Drs Faull and Barchas), Stanford (Calif) University.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1986;43(2):161-164. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1986.01800020071009

• We measured the dopamine metabolite homovanillic acid (HVA) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) before and after probenecid administration in normal controls and in patients with Huntington's disease. Baseline CSF HVA concentrations correlated positively with age in normal control subjects. Baseline CSF HVA concentrations were reduced in patients with Huntington's disease, and the degree of this reduction correlated with the severity of dementia and with the duration of disease. These results suggest that changes in the metabolism of dopamine by dopaminergic neurons may be associated with the dementia of Huntington's disease as well as with normal aging. These changes in dopaminergic functioning are apparently different in Huntington's disease than in normal aging and can be detected by measuring CSF HVA concentration.