The activity of monoamine oxidase (MAO) and dopamine-beta-hydroxylase (DBH), enzymes involved in monoamine metabolism, were studied in 29 bipolar patients (mean age = 33.12 years, SD = 7.27) who were treated with lithium carbonate and in 20 healthy volunteers (mean age = 30.05 years, SD = 6.04). Platelet MAO activity was higher after lithium withdrawal, whereas plasma DBH activity was lower in remitted euthymic bipolar patients compared with normal volunteers. During lithium treatment, platelet MAO activity decreased and plasma DBH activity increased compared with the lithium-withdrawal values. It was also observed that the activities of these enzymes in the bipolar patients during lithium treatment did not differ from those in the volunteers. Thus, platelet MAO and plasma DBH activities differed in unmedicated patients with bipolar affective disorder from those of healthy subjects. Treatment with lithium appeared to have a normalizing effect on MAO and DBH activity levels.