Evaluation of the oxidation of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) to toxic pyridinium cations by monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzymes and its use to search for new MAO inhibitors and protective agents.

Research paper by Tomás T Herraiz

Indexed on: 14 Oct '11Published on: 14 Oct '11Published in: Journal of enzyme inhibition and medicinal chemistry


Monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzymes catalyze the oxidative deamination of amines and neurotransmitters and inhibitors of MAO are useful as neuroprotectants. This work evaluates the human MAO-catalyzed oxidation of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), a dopaminergic neurotoxin, to the directly-acting neurotoxic metabolites, 1-methyl-4-phenyl-2,3-dihydropyridinium (MPDP(+)) and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium (MPP(+)) measured by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), and this approach is subsequently used as a new method for screening of MAO inhibitors and protective agents. Oxidation of MPTP by human MAO-B was more efficient than by MAO-A. R-Deprenyl, a known neuroprotectant, norharman (β-carboline), 5-nitroindazole and menadione (vitamin K3) inhibited MAO-B and reduced the formation of toxic pyridinium cations. Clorgyline and the β-carbolines, harman and norharman, inhibited the oxidation of MPTP by MAO-A. Cigarette smoke, as well as the naturally occurring β-carbolines (norharman and harman) isolated from smoke and coffee inhibited the oxidation of MPTP by MAO-B and/or MAO-A, suggesting protective effects against MPTP. The results show the suitability of the approach used to search for new MAO inhibitors with eventual neuroprotective activity.