Thomas A Ban’s reply to John Court’s comment (question) to Ban’s History of Psychopharmacology - Capsule Seventeen (Adrenochrome hypothesis of schizophrenia and treatment with nicotinic acid)
No evidence has ever been found to suggest that O-methylated psychotoxic derivatives of catecholamines play any role in schizophrenia. So, to answer your question, adrenochrome, a transmethylation product of epinephrine could not be considered as the biochemical substrate of “scizophrenogenic mother”, even if the concept of “schizophrenogenic mother” would be valid. In this context, John Smythies, the psychiatrist, who, in 1952, together with Humphrey Osmond, formulated the “adrenochrome hypothesis”, in 1998 wrote: “The importance of the adrenochrome hypothesis was that in an era when most psychiatrists believed in psychogenic hypothesis of schizophrenia (remember the ‘schizophrenogenic mother’), it demonstrated for the first time that there might be a biochemical explanation for the causation of the disease”.
Smythies J. From transmethylation to oxidative mechanisms. In: Ban TA, Healy D, Shorter N, editors.The Rise of Psychopharmacology and the Story of CINP. Budapest: Animula; 1998, pp. 148-51.
Thomas A. Ban
January 29, 2015