Tryptophan depletion selectively reduces CSF 5-HT metabolites in healthy young men: Results from single lumbar puncture sampling technique

Francisco A. Moreno, Cameron McGavin, T. Phillip Malan, Alan J. Gelenberg, George R. Heninger, Aleksander A. Mathé, Pedro L. Delgado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


Plasma tryptophan (Trp) depletion is a commonly used tool for determining the role of brain serotonin (5-HT) function in a variety of psychiatric disorders. This study measured the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) monoamine metabolite response to Trp depletion and control testing in five healthy subjects utilizing a single lumbar puncture. Testing was done in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized, cross-over design. Plasma-free and total Trp levels and behavioural ratings were obtained prior to and 5 h after ingestion of each amino-acid drink. CSF was obtained by performing a standard lumbar puncture 7 h after ingestion of the drink. Compared to control testing, Trp depletion caused a significant decrease of CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) (p = 0.03), but not of homovanillic acid or 3-methoxy-4-hydroxy-phenylglycol. Behavioural ratings were minimally affected in all subjects. This confirms that plasma Trp depletion reduces central nervous system measures of 5-HT function and suggests that the single lumbar puncture technique may be sufficient to detect the extent of CSF 5-HIAA changes during Trp depletion studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-283
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000



  • Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
  • Monoamine metabolites
  • Tryptophan depletion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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