The hypothesis of Woolley and Shaw1-3 that an altered metabolism of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), serotonin (Rapport4), or enteramine (Erspamer5) may be of importance in the genesis of a psychiatric disturbance, namely, schizophrenia, has aroused great interest and inspired countless investigations. We do not know whether it is a deficiency or an excess of serotonin that may be responsible for the abnormal brain function. In fact, the role played by serotonin in cerebral physiology has yet to be determined.
The possibility that the altered metabolism of an endogenous amine may play a role in the genesis of schizophrenia seems particularly interesting in view of the work of V. M. Buscaino.6 For over 35 years this investigator and his school have pointed out that the only unquestionable changes found in schizophrenic patients indicate the existence of an altered metabolism of biological amines, including those derived from the indole nucleus.
BUSCAINO GA, STEFANACHI L. Urinary Excretion of 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid in Psychotic and Normal Subjects: Excretion After Parenteral Administration of Serotonin. AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(1):78–85. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340070096016
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