Effect of Tobacco Smoking on CSF Monoamine Metabolite Concentrations

Investigators examined the relationship between schizophrenia and CSF monoamine metabolite concentrations in smokers.

Regular tobacco smoking has no significant impact on monoamine metabolite concentrations in the cerebrospinal fluid of individuals with or without psychotic disorders, according to a recent study published in Psychiatry Research.

Many previous studies that investigated the relationship between monoamine metabolite concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid and schizophrenia failed to adjust analyses for tobacco smoking, which some earlier studies have indicated negatively affects cerebrospinal fluid monoamine metabolite concentrations. This study sought to determine whether regular tobacco smoking has an effect on the cerebrospinal fluid levels of the major metabolites of the monoamines serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline: 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol (MHPG), 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), and homovanillic acid (HVA).

Data from 200 healthy controls and 69 individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorder were analyzed for the study. Of the 269 subjects included, 140 were non-smokers and 129 were smokers, and all participants were comparable in psychiatric morbidity, age, gender, weight, height, back-length, and antipsychotic treatment.

Results of the present study vary from those of most previous studies on the effectof tobacco smoking on cerebrospinal fluid monoamine metabolite concentrations, finding that regular tobacco smoking does not significantly affect MHPG, 5-HIAA, or HVA concentrations in cerebrospinal fluid. These findings were consistent in both patients diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum disorder and a large group of healthy controls.

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Study investigators conclude that “the effect of regular tobacco smoking on [cerebrospinal fluid] monoamine metabolite concentrations seems to be non-existent or very small. In contrast to height, back-length, weight and antipsychotic medication[,] regular tobacco smoking should therefore not be considered as a crucial factor to control for when studying [cerebrospinal fluid] monoamine metabolite concentrations in the future.”


Hjärpe J, Söderman E, Andreou D, Sedvall GC, Agartz I, Jönsson EG. No major influence of regular tobacco smoking on cerebrospinal fluid monoamine metabolite concentrations in patients with psychotic disorder and healthy individuals. Psychiatry Res. 3018; 263:30-34.