Among the various biochemical abnormalities described in schizophrenia, the oxidation of epinephrine has stimulated considerable interest. Hoffer and co-workers1,2 have suggested that oxidized derivatives of epinephrine, especially adrenochrome and adrenolutin, may be involved in the production of psychotic disorders. In support of this hypothesis, Leach and Heath3 presented data which indicated a significant difference in the rate of epinephrine oxidation by plasma of normal and schizophrenic persons. After the addition of epinephrine to plasma, the formation of an oxidized derivative was found to be more than twice as rapid in the schizophrenic group as in the normal group. These results were interpreted as indicating a qualitative difference in ceruloplasmin or other enzyme systems.
In the present experiments, radioactive epinephrine was added to plasma obtained from normal and psychotic subjects, and the metabolites formed during the incubation were detected by