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December 1974

Triptolines: Formation From Tryptamines and 5-MTHF by Human Platelets

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurochemistry, Department of Psychiatry, Stanford Medical School, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;31(6):862-867. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760180100013

The result of the enzymatic reaction between indoleamines and a donor of one-carbon units, 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolic acid (5-MTHF), has been thought to be an N- or O-methylation of the indoleamine. We find that an enzymatic preparation from human platelets uses 5MTHF as a cofactor to convert tryptamine and two tryptamine derivatives to tryptolines (tetrahydro-β-carbolines), a class of tricyclic compounds. These products were identified by thin-layer chromatography, cocrystallization, and gas liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Formation of these compounds in mammalian tissues has not previously been described, to our knowledge. Platelet activity in healthy volunteers showed large individual variations; values for women were higher than those for men. These findings suggest the need for further examination of the pharmacological and psychological effects of tryptolines.