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Parachlorophenylalanine chemical structure

2-amino-3-(4-chlorophenyl)propanoic acid
IUPAC name
CAS number
ATC code


Chemical formula {{{chemical_formula}}}
Molecular weight 199.634 g/mol
Elimination half-life
Pregnancy category
Legal status
Routes of administration

Parachlorophenylalanine (p-Chlorophenylalanine, PCPA) aka Fenclonine is a synthetic amino acid which acts as a selective and irreversible inhibitor of tryptophan hydroxylase, which is a rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of serotonin.[1] Fenclonine consequently depletes serotonin in the body and reduces its actions, acting as an indirect serotonin antagonist. It is used in scientific research to investigate the effects of serotonin depletion on behaviour.[2]

See also


  1. Jéquier E, Lovenberg W, Sjoerdsma A. Tryptophan hydroxylase inhibition: the mechanism by which p-chlorophenylalanine depletes rat brain serotonin. Molecular Pharmacology. 1967 May;3(3):274-8. PMID 6037686
  2. O'Leary OF, Bechtholt AJ, Crowley JJ, Hill TE, Page ME, Lucki I. Depletion of serotonin and catecholamines block the acute behavioral response to different classes of antidepressant drugs in the mouse tail suspension test. Psychopharmacology (Berlin). 2007 Jun;192(3):357-71. PMID 17318507

Further reading


  • Harvey, B. H., Naciti, C., Brand, L., & Stein, D. J. (2004). Serotonin and Stress: Protective or Malevolent Actions in the Biobehavioral Response to Repeated Trauma? New York, NY: New York Academy of Sciences.
  • Boranic, M., Pericic, D., Poljak-Blazi, M., Sverko, V., & Marotti, T. (1987). Suppression of immune response in rats by stress and drugs interfering with metabolism of serotonin. New York, NY: New York Academy of Sciences.


Alexander, G. J., & Kopeloff, L. M. (1976). Additive effect of 5-hydroxytryptophan and p-chlorophenylalanine in preventing audiogenic seizures in inbred mice: Psychopharmacology Communications Vol 2(5-6) 1976, 379-390.

  • Alexander, G. J., & Kopeloff, L. M. (1978). Anticonvulsive effect of p-chlorophenylalanine in mice on a low magnesium diet: Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior Vol 8(3) Mar 1978, 291-293.
  • Alpern, H. P., & Jackson, S. J. (1978). Short-term memory: A neuropharmacologically distinct process: Behavioral & Neural Biology Vol 22(2) Feb 1978, 133-146.
  • Altenor, A., & DeYoe, E. A. (1977). The effects of {dl}-p-chlorophenylalanine on learned helplessness in the rat: Behavioral & Neural Biology Vol 20(1) May 1977, 111-115.
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  • Annerbrink, K., Olsson, M., Melchior, L. K., Hedner, J., & Eriksson, E. (2003). Serotonin depletion increases respiratory variability in freely moving rats: implications for panic disorder: International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology Vol 6(1) Mar 2003, 51-56.
  • Armario, A., Marti, O., & Gavalda, A. (1992). Negative feedback of corticosterone on the pituitary-adrenal axis is maintained after inhibition of serotonin synthesis with parachlorophenylalanine: Brain Research Bulletin Vol 28(6) Jun 1992, 915-918.
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