The most readily available source of monoamine oxidase in man is the platelet, although only the B form of the enzyme is represented in this site. Platelet activity is higher in women than in men. The enzyme activity is generally stable and is partly under genetic control. There is some evidence that individuals with low activity have a higher psychiatric morbidity than those with high activity. Despite some negative studies, the consensus of publication dealing with schizophrenia, migraine, and alcoholism find that mean platelet monoamine oxidase activity in the patient group is lower than in the controls. Values are raised in unipolar depression. Technical differences, or patient or control group heterogeneity, might well account for the absence of unanimity in the literature. A considerable degree of overlap between patient and control values, whatever the clinical diagnosis, appears to be the standard finding. Apart from these neuropsychiatric disturbances, platelet monoamine oxidase activity is raised in megaloblastic anaemia and reduced in iron deficiency anaemia. Although altered enzyme activity values may be linked to abnormal platelet populations in some of the haematological disorders discussed, in general the causes of abnormal platelet monoamine oxidase activity are unknown.
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