Tetrahydroisoquinoline derivatives: A new perspective on monoaminergic dysfunction in children with ADHD?

Veit Roessner*, Susanne Walitza, Franz Riederer, Regina Hünnerkopf, Aribert Rothenberger, Manfred Gerlach, Andreas Moser

*Corresponding author for this work
4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The dopamine-derived tetrahydroisoquinolines (TIQ) synthesized endogeneously from aldehydes and catecholamines have shown to modulate neurotransmission, central metabolism and motor activity. Converging evidence has implicated abnormalities of the dopamine metabolism to the pathophysiology of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Therefore, four TIQ derivatives involved in central dopamine metabolism (salsolinol, N-methyl-salsolinol, norsalsolinol, N-methyl-norsalsolinol) have been analyzed for the first time in children and adolescents with ADHD and healthy controls. Methods: 42 children and adolescents with ADHD and 24 controls from three sites participated in this pilot study. Free and bound amounts of salsolinol, N-methyl-salsolinol, norsalsolinol, N-methyl-norsalsolinol have been analyzed in urine. Results: In the ADHD group, free and total amounts of the four TIQ derivatives in urine were significantly higher compared to urine levels of healthy controls. For N-methyl-salsolinolfree, most of the ADHD patients were identified correctly with a sensitivity of 92.5% (specificity 94.4%). Conclusion: Urine levels of salsolinol, N-methyl-salsolinol, norsalsolinol and N-methyl-norsalsolinol are elevated in children and adolescents with ADHD and point to a new perspective on catecholaminergic dysfunction in ADHD. However, replication and extension of this pilot study would progress this innovative and promising field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number64
JournalBehavioral and Brain Functions
Publication statusPublished - 10.12.2007

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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