The metabolism of a number of biogenic amines has been simulated by using data obtained from studies of the individual enzymes from pig brain. It is shown that β-hydroxylated amines such as noradrenaline and octopamine are metabolized primarily to the alcoholic metabolite whereas amines lacking this group [e.g. dopamine (3,4-dihydroxyphenethylamine) and 5-hydroxytryptamine] are metabolized at low concentrations to give the corresponding acid. Increase in the amine concentration results in an increase in the proportion of the alcoholic metabolite formed and this may in part account for the effects of the drug reserpine on amine metabolism. The effects of disulfiram (Antabuse) and ethanol (acting through its metabolite acetaldehyde) on amine metabolism may be understood in terms of this simulated model. It is shown that drugs that affect this system also cause alterations in the steady-state concentrations of the intermediate aldehydes and the possible implications of this are discussed.

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