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Dihydroxyphenylacetic acid

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DOPAC (dihydroxyphenylacetic acid) is a metabolite of dopamine. The dopaminergic pathway consists of the following:


             ----> via MAO -> '''DOPAC''' -> via COMT 
           /                                    \
'''Dopamine (DA)''' . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ---> '''homovanillic acid (HVA)'''
           \                                    /    
             ----> via COMT -> '''3-MT''' -> via MAO 

One of the three direct products from the alteration of dopamine (DOPAC, 3-MT (3-methoxytyramine) and noradrenaline) DOPAC is an important metabolite when studying the behaviour of the dopaminergic system for multiple reasons; 3-MT is generally more difficult to assay alongside dopamine and by assessing all three metabolites (DOPAC, HVA and 3-MT) abnormalities in either COMT (catechol-O-methyl transferase) or MAO (monoamine oxidase) can be indirectly identified. This has large ramifications as COMT abnormalities are suspected in various neuropsychiatric diseases including schizophrenia.

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