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Can you explain the relationship between catecholamines and metanephrines?

5 doctors weighed in
Dr. William Banks Hinshaw
Obstetrics & Gynecology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Phenol vs ether

The chemical structure of epinephrine, the natural hormone generated in excess by a pheochromocytoma tumor, has an aromatic carbon ring with two adjacent -oh (phenol) groups and a side-chain amino group.
Compounds with this structure are called catecholamines. Metanephrine is a metabolite of this hormone, with one phenol converted to an ether (-och3). If elevated, it implies the tumor.

In brief: Phenol vs ether

The chemical structure of epinephrine, the natural hormone generated in excess by a pheochromocytoma tumor, has an aromatic carbon ring with two adjacent -oh (phenol) groups and a side-chain amino group.
Compounds with this structure are called catecholamines. Metanephrine is a metabolite of this hormone, with one phenol converted to an ether (-och3). If elevated, it implies the tumor.
Dr. William Banks Hinshaw
Dr. William Banks Hinshaw
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Dr. Susan Wingo
Internal Medicine - Endocrinology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Metabolites.

Catecholamines include Epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, & dopamine.
Epinephrine is metabolized (broken down) to metanephrine, and norepinephrine to normetanephrine. Catecholamine levels can change quickly - just the act of drawing blood can raise them) while metanephrine levels are more consistent.

In brief: Metabolites.

Catecholamines include Epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, & dopamine.
Epinephrine is metabolized (broken down) to metanephrine, and norepinephrine to normetanephrine. Catecholamine levels can change quickly - just the act of drawing blood can raise them) while metanephrine levels are more consistent.
Dr. Susan Wingo
Dr. Susan Wingo
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