Alpha-methyl-para-tyrosine (AMPT) temporarily inhibits tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate limiting step in the dopamine biosynthesis cascade. AMPT has been approved for clinical use in phaeochromocytoma in 1979. Recently however, AMPT has been increasingly employed as a pharmacological challenge in acute dopamine depletion studies including neuroimaging studies. The use of this exciting challenge technique allows us to increase our understanding of dopaminergic neurotransmission in the brain. In addition, there have been clinical reports that AMPT may be useful to treat movement disorders like dystonia, dyskinesia and Huntingtons chorea, psychiatric disorders like mania, psychosis, obsessive compulsive disorder and substance abuse as well as behavioral problems in 22q11 deletion syndrome. In this review we will discuss the effects of AMPT in challenge studies that have been reported in humans. Furthermore we will review all studies reporting therapeutic effects of AMPT in neuropsychiatric disorders and adverse effects associated with AMPT use reported in both challenge and therapeutic research.
Keywords: Alpha-methyl-para-tyrosine, AMPT, dopamine, depletion, challenge, treatment, catecholamine
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