Montgomery AJ, McTavish SF, Cowen PJ, Grasby PM Am J Psychiatry  2003 Oct;160(10):1887-9


Imperial College, School of Medicine, University Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK.

OBJECTIVE: Extracellular dopamine concentrations were estimated through measurement of [(11)C]raclopride binding with positron emission tomography after dietary manipulation of the dopamine precursors tyrosine and phenylalanine.

METHOD: Healthy male subjects were scanned on two occasions: once after receiving a balanced amino acid drink and once after receiving a drink mixture from which tyrosine and phenylalanine were omitted.

RESULTS: Dietary tyrosine and phenylalanine depletion increased [(11)C]raclopride binding in the striatum by a mean of 6%. The change in [(11)C]raclopride binding correlated significantly with the fall in the ratio of tyrosine and phenylalanine to large neutral amino acids.

CONCLUSIONS: This is the first demonstration of an effect of a dietary manipulation on brain dopamine release in humans. This result provides support for the further investigation of the role of dietary manipulations in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders.

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