Analytical biochemistry 13 no. 3:544-551.




Until the discovery of the major product of catecholamine n1etabolism, vanillylmandelic acid (VMA), by Annstrong in 1957 (1), biochemical studies of epinephrine and norepinephrine metabolism were dependent upon determination of the small quantities of these materials excreted unchanged in the urine. The methods designed to measure VMA have proved adequate to detect the gross abnormalities in metabolism usually associated with catecholamine-producing tumors (2-7), but more exact procedures are required for quantitative metabolic studies. Present spectrophotometric and electrophoretic methods are nonspecific in that they yield values for VMA that are higher than those obtained by chromatographic and isotope dilution techniques (5). Although the two-din1ensional paper chromatographic syste1n (8, 9) is a reliable quantitative method, it is cumberson1e and yields son1ewhat variable results. The isotope dilution technique of Weise et al. (10) is probably the most precise method available, but it is laborious, and its application complex for metabolic studies using labeled VMA or its precursors

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