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November 3, 1962

Negative Results

JAMA. 1962;182(5):565. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050440057015

Urinary Excretion of 5-HIAA in Chronic Alcoholism  G. E. Murphy, M.D., S. B. Guze, M.D., and L. J. King, M.D., St. LouisRECENT attention has been given to the presence and activity of serotonin in the central nervous system, particularly in relation to abnormal mental states. Olson et al.1 have reported a disturbance in the urinary excretion by chronic alcoholics of serotonin's excretory form, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA). They compared the 24-hour urinary excretion of 5-HIAA by 16 normal and of 34 chronic alcoholic subjects. The excretion of 5-HIAA was found to be significantly lower in the alcoholic patients than in the normals. Analysis for 5-HIAA was by the method of Udenfriend.2

Method  Fifteen male volunteer subjects (aged 32 to 58 years), meeting WHO's criteria for alcoholism,3 were serially admitted to a metabolic study ward from a Salvation Army shelter. All had been totally abstinent from alcohol for