Plasma Dopamine β-Hydroxylase: A Possible Aid in the Study and Evaluation of Hypertension

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Science  08 Feb 1974:
Vol. 183, Issue 4124, pp. 523-525
DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4124.523


The activity of dopamine β-hydroxylase (DBH) in plasma ranged from 2 to 100 units per liter of plasma in 82 apparently healthy subjects (ages 22 to 35 years). A nonnormal pattern of distribution was evident: 62 subjects had values below 35 units (18 ± 1), while 13 of the remaining 20 subjects had values above 60 units (80 ± 5). Those with low DBH activity had lower values for urinary catecholamine excretion (31 ± 3 micrograms), with normal and stable blood pressure; those with high DBH activity had higher values for urinary catecholamine excretion (72 ± 6 micrograms), with greater lability of arterial blood pressure. The DBH activity was significantly elevated in patients with labile (74 ± 2 mm-Hg) or fixed (57 ± 2 mm-Hg) essential hypertension. The results indicate that plasma DBH activity is low and that it falls within a narrow range in young adults with normal and stable blood pressure.