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August 1959

Disappearance Rates of Infused Epinephrine and Norepinephrine from Plasma: A Comparison of Normal and Schizophrenic Subjects

Author Affiliations

New York With the Technical Assistance of Joanne Sha
From the Departments of Biochemistry, Medicine, and Psychiatry of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; and from the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the Presbyterian Hospital.
Present address (Dr. Holland): Department of Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga.

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1959;1(2):228-231. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1959.03590020124012

Introduction  Recently, in the course of experiments dealing with intravenous infusions of epinephrine and norepinephrine in man,1 occasion presented itself to perform infusions on a group of normal subjects and on a group of schizophrenic patients. It appeared that data concerning plasma concentrations of epinephrine and norepinephrine during infusions had bearing on recent suggestions that schizophrenia might be related to a faulty metabolism of either of these two substances. Hoffer and co-workers,2,3 for instance, had presented evidence suggestive that certain oxidized derivatives of epinephrine, namely, adrenochrome (3-hydroxy-2,3dihydro-1-methylindole-5,6-quinone) and adrenolutin (3,5,6-trihydroxy-1-methylindole) were capable of producing transient psychoses and other mental aberrations in man when administered intravenously or orally. Thus, the view was advanced3 that a defect in epinephrine metabolism resulting in the formation of excessive quantities of adrenochrome or adrenolutin might be an etiologic factor in schizophrenia. In support of this