Compared to healthy controls, unmedicated schizophrenic patients had significantly higher plasma concentrations of taurine, methionine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, phenylalanine, and lysine. Except for taurine, these amino acids share the L-transport system for neutral amino acids. In the patients, homovanillic (HVA) acid levels in CSF were decreased and the plasma levels of the amino acids competing with tyrosine and tryptophan for transport into the brain, were all negatively correlated to the CSF concentrations of HVA and 5-HIAA. These findings could be explained by a change in the affinity of the L-system or by a decrease in its overall capacity in schizophrenia. Raised plasma levels of the competing amino acids may limit the brain uptake of tyrosine, leading to a diminished dopamine turnover, and resulting in a compensatory development of supersensitive dopamine receptors.