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Inhibition of human MAO-A and MAO-B by a compound isolated from flue-cured tobacco leaves and its neuroprotective properties in the MPTP mouse model of neurodegeneration

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image of Inflammopharmacology

Prompted by the findings that smokers have lowered brain and blood platelet monoamine oxidase-A and -B activities compared to non-smokers and that smokers have a lowered incidence of Parkinson's disease, we have examined the neuroprotective properties of an MAO inhibitor, 2,3,6-trimethyl-1,4-naphthoquinone (TMN), which is present in the tobacco plant and smoke in the MPTP C57BL/6 mouse model of neurodegeneration. Dopamine (DA) levels in the striata of mice treated with TMN prior to the administration of MPTP were significantly higher than DA levels in the striata of mice receiving MPTP only, thus indicating a degree of neuroprotection in this model of Parkinson's disease. The potential consequences on MAO activity of long term exposure to this compound need to be evaluated. Furthermore, there is evidence for the presence of other inhibitors in the tobacco leaf and smoke, including compounds with irreversible MAO inhibitory properties. Although there is no evidence to link the lowered activities of MAO to the lowered incidence of Parkinson's disease in smokers, the neuroprotective effects of TMN in the MPTP mouse model suggest that such a relationship is worthy of further evaluation.

Affiliations: 1: Harvey W. Peters Center, Department of Chemistry, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, USA


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