Metanephrine is a metabolite of epinephrine. Normally, the levels of Metanephrine are low in the plasma. However, when there are tumors in the body that originate from neural crest cells called paragangliomas or neuroblastomas, or from pheochromocytomas (an adrenal gland tumor), the levels of Metanephrine rise significantly. When Metanephrine levels are normal, then it’s extremely unlikely that someone has pheochromocytoma or paraganglioma.
If this test is positive, another type of test should be done, called the fractionated 24-hour urinary metanephrines.
Normal Ranges for Metanephrine in nmol/L:
Some specific causes of low Metanephrine may include:
- Metyrosine treatment (This is the treatment for pheochromocytoma.)
High levels of Metanephrine can be from a pheochromocytoma. This is usually a benign tumor that stems from aberrant cells in the adrenal gland. The tumor produces hormones that cause high blood pressure. The high blood pressure can cause life-threatening situations, such as a heart attack.
Some specific causes of high Metanephrine may include:
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors from tyramine-rich foods
- Catecholamine reuptake inhibitor consumption (cocaine and local anesthetics, including lidocaine)
- Anesthetic gasses, especially one called halothane
- Sleep apnea
- Going through the sedative drug withdrawal process from alcohol, valium, opioids, and the high blood pressure drug called Clonidine
However, the elevated levels caused by the above-mentioned items are not that significant.
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