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March 1960

Differential Extraction of Indoles from the Urine of Schizophrenic and Normal Subjects

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Research Biochemistry, Veterans Administration Hospital, Coatesville, Pa., and Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
Chief Research Biochemist, Veterans Administration Hospital, Coatesville, Pa.; Research Associate in Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia; Visiting Lecturer in Biochemistry, New York Medical College, New York (Dr. Sprince). Research Assistant, U.S. Public Health Service Grant No. M-1015 (C3), University of Pennsylvania (Mr. Houser). Research Technician, Veterans Administration Hospital, Coatesville, Pa. (Miss Jameson). Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; Research Consultant in Metabolic Diseases, Veterans Administration Hospital, Coatesville, Pa. (Dr. Dohan).

AMA Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1960;2(3):268-270. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1960.03590090024005

Abnormal excretion of urinary indoles has long been implicated in mental illness. This has become well defined in two hereditary diseases with mental symptoms, namely, phenylketonuria1 and H (Hartnup) disease.2 Attempts to relate schizophrenia to indole metabolism have been inconclusive. Recent studies, however, have revealed certain Ehrlich-benzaldehyde-reacting spots, which occur more frequently, or with greater intensity, on paper chromatograms of urine from schizophrenic patients than from those of normal subjects.3-5 One such spot has been found by several investigators independently. On paper chromatograms sprayed with Ehrlich’s benzaldehyde reagent (EBR) it gives an azure-blue color and is easily located by its characteristic position in relation to urea and indoxylsulfate.4,5

The purpose of this report is twofold: (1) to describe a method for the differential extraction of indoles from urine, including the above-mentioned spot, and (2) to present results of chromatographing extracts obtained

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