Skip to content

Plasma Homovanillic Acid in Schizophrenia

Implications for Presynaptic Dopamine Dysfunction

Edited by Arnold J. Friedhoff, M.D., and Farooq Amin, M.D.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-489-3
  • Item #8489

View Pricing

List Price

APA Members

20% off

APA Resident-Fellow Members

25% off

Buying In Canada or Europe?


The role of dopamine in schizophrenia has been a significant area of research. The measurement of the major dopamine metabolite, homovanillic acid (HVA), in various body fluids, especially in blood plasma, is one of the primary methods to assess brain dopamine neuronal activity in schizophrenic patients.

Written by leading researchers in the field, Plasma Homovanillic Acid in Schizophrenia provides the most comprehensive and current collection of information on plasma HVA levels to be found anywhere. It provides a concise synthesis and critique of current data as well as interesting proposals for future research.

This book will be of great value to any serious student of the biology of schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders involving abnormal levels of plasma HVA.


  • Foreword. Plasma HVA as a tool to investigate presynaptic brain dopaminergic activity. Studies of the clinical correlates of elevated plasma catecholamine metabolites. Review of plasma HVA studies in schizophrenia. Plasma HVA and subtyping of schizophrenia. Catecholamines, their metabolites, and response to typical and atypical neuroleptics: toward an understanding of the mechanisms of action of neuroleptic drugs. Stabilizing systems in the brain. Early increase of plasma HVA during neuroleptic treatment: a tool for outcome prediction and for subtyping of schizophrenia. Dopaminergic plasticity in schizophrenia. Plasma HVA in schizotypal personality disorder. Methodological issues in interpreting plasma HVA levels in studies of schizophrenia. Methodological enhancements: the central dopaminergic index of plasma HVA. Afterword. Index.

About the Authors

Arnold J. Friedhoff, M.D., is Menas S. Gregory Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Millhauser Laboratories at the New York University School of Medicine in New York, New York.

Farooq Amin, M.D., is Associate Chief of Psychiatry for Research at the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Director of Schizophrenia Research at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

[I]t is a rich source of information for the specialist. . . . [T]his book will be valuable to all those working in the field of schizophrenia and related conditions, and would be a worthy addition to a departmental library.—The British Journal of Psychiatry

The authors of this book make a good case for the measurement of plasma homovanillic acid as the best available approach to test theories concerning the role of DA in the etiology and treatment of schizophrenia. This volume brings together the leaders in this field of clinical research. Each chapter provides a thoughtful discussion of methodological issues and of new conceptualizations of psychotic states. The hypotheses presented in this book will be of great importance in our future understanding of schizophrenia. In addition, these studies provide information that leads to some interesting new speculations concerning the interactions between environmental forces, drug effects, and the dopamine system. I highly recommend this book to clinician and laboratory worker alike.—John A. Harvey, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology & Psychiatry, Chief, Div of Behavioral Neurobiology, Dept of Pharmacology, MCP Hahnemann School of Med, Allegheny University of the Health Sciences

The dopamine hypothesis continues to provide the principal conceptual gateway into the mysteries of schizophrenia. Therefore the measurement and dynamic assessment of HVA, the major metabolite of dopamine, offer opportunities for obtaining substantial understanding of dopamine's role in many diseases, of which schizophrenia is but one. Here in one convenient book, clinician and researcher alike can finally find the facts about plasma HVA and its central importance in the biology of schizophrenia. In this book, a compendium of contributions from many of the world's experts in biological psychiatry, the reader will find the most definitive, authoritative, and clearly written descriptions of the latest research on the usefulness of plasma HVA. These include treatment response to neuroleptics, the relation of this dopamine metabolite to the waxing and waning of positive symptoms and to schizophrenia-related conditions like schizotypal personality disorder, and carefully crafted critiques of current research and prescriptions for future research directions. This volume is a singularly important collection of seminal papers on a crucial aspect of the biology of schizophrenia that will inform all who are interested in diseases in which plasma HVA plays a role.—Philip S. Holzman, Ph.D, Esther and Sidney R. Rabb Professor of Psychology, Emeritus, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

This book takes aim at an important target and scores a bull's-eye. The editors of this splendid volume, Friedhoff and Amin, have assembled a team of international marksmen. In his succinct and thoughtful foreword, Herbert Y. Meltzer provides the road map and context for this traditional and important area of schizophrenia research. Malcolm B. Bowers Jr. and Carolyn M. Mazure write with the authority that decades of work confer and clearly explain the choice of plasma as a fluid for homovanillic acid determination. Arnold Friedhoff and Raul Silva's essay, 'Stabilizing Systems in the Brain,' is a gem of clarity and brevity that restates, refines, and expands the ideas that have guided the work of the Freidhoff group for many years. Erica Duncan's remarkable essay, 'Dopaminergic Plasticity in Schizophrenia,' forecasts the future of biochemical research into schizophrenia. The final chapter, by detailing the methodological issues in interpreting plasma HVA values and by listing the questions that persist in this field, provides a fitting conclusion to this book.—Arthur J. Prange Jr. M.D., Boshamer Professor of Psychiatry,University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Related Products

Become an APA Member
Join Now