Behavioural effects of acute phenylalanine and tyrosine depletion in healthy male volunteers Academic Article uri icon

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  • Acute phenylalanine and tyrosine depletion (APTD) studies have been used to assess the role of the cathecholaminergic system in various aspects of human behaviour. In this study we conducted a randomized, double-blind, controlled and cross-over comparison to evaluate the effects of APTD on memory, attention and mood in normal subjects. Twelve healthy male volunteers were included in this study. The subjects ingested a nutritionally balanced mixture (B) or a similar mixture deficient in phenylalanine and tyrosine (PT). Before and 5 h after ingestion of the drink, volunteers underwent tests on mood, memory and attention. Results of the memory tests showed that PT mixture impaired word recall as measured in Rey's test (p = 0.016). The assessment of changes in mood showed that the balanced mixture improved scores of as alertness (VAMS factor I, p = 0.037) and the PT mixture induces an opposite effect, increased scores of anxiety (Profiles of Mental State composed-anxious dimension, p= 0.022). These results suggest that tyrosine plasma levels and cathecholamines may be important factors in regulating mood and memory.


  • Grevet, Eugenio H
  • Tietzmann, Marcos R
  • Shansis, Flávio M
  • Hastenpflug, Caroline
  • Santana, Luiz C
  • Forster, Letícia
  • Kapczinski, Flavio
  • Izquierdo, Ivan

publication date

  • January 2002