Therapeutic applications of selective and non-selective inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A and B that do not cause significant tyramine potentiation
Youdim MB, Weinstock M.
Department of Pharmacology,
Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine-Technion,
Eve Topf and National Parkinson Foundation
Centers of Excellence for Neurodegenerative Diseases Research,
Efron St, PO Box 9697,
Haifa 31096, Israel.
Neurotoxicology. 2004 Jan;25(1-2):243-50


The major side effect with the use of first generation of non selective monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors as neuropsychiatric drugs was what became known as the "cheese reaction". Namely, potentiation of sympathomimetic activity of ingested tyramine present in cheese and other food stuff, resulting from its ability to release noradrenaline, when prevented from metabolism by MAO. The identification of two forms of MAO, termed types A and B and their selective irreversible inhibitors resolved some of this problems. However irreversible MAO-A inhibitors continue to induce a cheese reaction, whereas MAO-B inhibitors at their selective dosage did not and led to introduction of L-deprenyl (selegiline) as an anti-Parkinson drug, since dopamine is equally well metabolized by both enzyme forms. The cheese reaction is a consequence of inhibition of MAO-A, the enzyme responsible for metabolism of noradrenaline and serotonin, located in peripheral adrenergic neurons. The consequence of these findings were the development of reversible MAO-A inhibitors (RIMA), moclobemide and brofaromin, as antidepressants and possible anti-Parkinson activity, with limited tyramine potentiation, since the amine can displace the inhibitor from its binding site on the enzyme. It has always been deemed a greater pharmacological advantage to inhibit both forms of the enzymes to get the full functional activities of the amine neurotransmitters, and without inducing a "cheese reaction". This was not possible until recently, with the development of the novel cholinesterase-brain selective MAO-AB inhibitor, TV3326 (N-propargyl-(3R)-aminoidnan-5-yl-ethyl methylcarbamate hemitartiate), a carbamate derivative of the irreversible MAO-B inhibitor anti-Parkinson drug, rasagiline. This drug is a brain selective MAO-A and B inhibitor, with little inhibition of liver and small intestine enzymes. Pharmacologically it has limited tyramine potentiation, very similar to moclobemide and being a MAO-AB inhibitor it has the antidepressant, anti-Parkinson and anti-Alzheimer activities in the respective models used to develop such drugs.

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