The level of 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethylene glycol (MHPG) was measured in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 27 hospitalized psychiatric patients, the great majority of whom show CSF MHPG levels within the range found in 24 normal control subjects. All depressed patients showed normal CSF MHPG levels. Some manic and schizophrenic patients showed levels elevated beyond the range of controls, with greatest significance attained in the manics. Those patients showing abnormal values did not show clinical-chemicaldemographic characteristics distinguishing them from other patients with the same diagnosis.
Using each patient as his own control and relating the time of spinal tap to symptom onset or change may be a sensitive and relevant index of exploring alterations in CSF MHPG.