Identification and determination of 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde, the dopamine metabolite, in in vivo dialysate from rat striatum

A. Colzi, A. Musolino, A. Iuliano, F. Fornai, U. Bonuccelli, G. U. Corsini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) is commonly considered to be the main dopamine (DA) metabolite produced by monoamine oxidase (MAO); however, the initial product of DA oxidation is 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPALD). Owing to technical difficulties in detecting DOPALD from a biological matrix, no studies have so far been performed to measure brain levels of this aldehyde in vivo. In this work, using transstriatal microdialysis in freely moving rats, we identified DOPALD by HPLC coupled to a coulometric detector. In chromatograms obtained from microdialysis samples, DOPALD appeared as a peak with a retention time coincident with that of the standards obtained via enzymatic and chemical synthesis. On the other hand, DOPALD was undetectable ex vivo from rat striatal homogenates. This discrepancy is probably due to the preferential extraneuronal localization together with the high reactivity of the aldehyde, which is rapidly removed by the dialysis probe, whereas the ex vivo procedure allows its condensation and enzymatic conversion. Measurement of DOPALD levels as a routine procedure might represent a reliable tool to evaluate DA oxidative metabolism directly, in vivo. Moreover, parallel detection of DOPALD and DOPAC levels in brain dialysate may make it possible to distinguish between the activity of MAO and aldehyde dehydrogenase. DOPALD, like many endogenous aldehydes, has been shown to be toxic to the cell in which it is formed. Therefore, in vivo measurement of DOPALD levels could highlight new aspects in the molecular mechanisms underlying both acute neurological insults and neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1510-1517
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1996


  • 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde
  • Aldehyde dehydrogenase
  • Brain dialysis
  • Dopamine
  • Dopamine metabolism
  • Monoamine oxidase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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