A method has been developed for the quantitation of the putative phenolamine neurotransmitter octopamine, and its precursor tyramine, in brain tissue. The procedure employs methane chemical ionization of the pentafluoropropionate derivatives of octopamine and tyramine together with the use of deuterated internal standards and selected ion monitoring. Deuterated analogues of octopamine and tyramine are added to brain homogenates in aqueous perchloric acid and ion exchange is used to isolate the brain amines. The method is capable of measuring 20 pg of octopamine and tyramine. The measured concentration (ng g−1 wet tissue) of octopamine and tyramine in rat brain was as follows: whole brain (less cerebellum) (0.6 and 2.2); hypothalamus (3.2 and tyramine value not statistically significant); striatum (0.5 and 11.8) and cortex (0.6 and 1.0). Administration of pargyline resulted in an increase (around ten-fold) in octopamine and tyramine concentration in all the above brain regions. In contrast α-methyltyrosine produced only a small increase (50%) in the concentration of tyramine in the striatum.