To assess the possible role of amine neurotransmitters in human epilepsy, we measured metabolites of serotonin (5- hydroxyindoleacetic acid [5-HIAA]), dopamine (homovanillic acid [HVA]), and norepinephrine (3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylethylene glycol [MHPG]) in the lumbar cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with partial complex seizures and in neurologic controls. Untreated epileptic patients had lower concentrations of 5-HIAA and HVA in the lumbar CSF than the controls, but the differences were not statistically significant. Among epileptic patients receiving effective antiepileptic drug treatment, the HVA concentration was within the control range. Mean MHPG concentrations were similar in patients and controls. From the epileptic patients whose CSF was obtained at pneumoencephalography we obtained a second sample of CSF that was originally in the basal cisterns. No significant differences between treated and untreated patients were found for any of the three metabolites. The concentrations of HVA and 5-HIAA were higher in cisternal than in lumbar CSF, but there was no such gradient for MHPG.