Family psychiatric history, cerebrospinal fluid monoamine metabolites, and temperament in infants

John N. Constantino, Dennis L. Murphy, Jennifer A. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Variations in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of the monoamine metabolites 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, 3-methoxy-4- hydroxyphenylglycol, and homovanillic acid have been associated with behavioral abnormalities in nonhuman primates, and with psychopathology in studies of children and adults. Methods: We assayed monoamine metabolites in 'leftover' spinal fluid from 167 neurologically normal newborn infants (0-3 months of age), and later (at age 18-21 months of age) obtained their family psychiatric histories and assessed their temperament using the Colorado Childhood Temperament Inventory (CCTI). Results: Family history of antisocial personality disorder predicted significantly lower scores for soothability (p = .003) at 18-21 months. There were no statistically significant associations between newborn monoamine metabolite levels and any aspect of temperament on the CCTI. Conclusions: These findings suggest complex relationships between genetic liability for psychiatric disorders and CSF monoamine metabolite levels; those relationships do not seem to be mediated by infant temperament. It appears likely that interindividual differences in monoamine metabolite levels change over the course of development in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-632
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 1999


  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Behavior genetics
  • Monoamine metabolites
  • Schizophrenia
  • Serotonin
  • Temperament


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