Neurochemical and Neuroprotective Effects of Some Aliphatic Propargylamines: New Selective Nonamphetamine-Like Monoamine Oxidase B Inhibitors


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. P. H. Yu at Neuropsychiatric Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada S7N 0W0.


Abstract: Aliphatic N-propargylamines have recently been discovered to be highly potent, selective, and irreversible monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) inhibitors. N-Methyl-N-(2-pentyl)propargylamine (M-2-PP) and N-methyl-N-(2-hexyl) propargylamine (2-HxMP), for example, are approximately fivefold more potent than I-deprenyl at inhibiting mouse brain MAO-B activity following oral administration. These inhibitors are nonaromatic compounds and are chemically quite different from other known MAO-B inhibitors. Some of their neurochemical and neuroprotective properties have been evaluated and compared with those of I-deprenyl. We have confirmed that these new inhibitors selectively inhibit MAO-B activity both in vitro and in vivo. 2-Phenylethylamine levels were substantially increased following administration of M-2-PP, but the levels of dopamine, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid, homovanillic acid, 5-hydroxytryptamine, and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid were not affected except at high, nonselective doses. Chronic oral administration of I-deprenyl and M-2-PP causes selective inhibition of MAO-B activity and increases dopamine levels in mouse caudate. M-2-PP, like I-deprenyl, has been shown to be potent in protecting against MPTP-induced damage in the mouse. N-(2-Chloroethyl)-N-ethyl-2-bromobenzylamine (DSP-4), a noradrenaline neurotoxin, is not an MAO substrate. Its noradrenaline-depleting effects were substantially mitigated by I-deprenyl as well as by M-2-PP and 2-HxMP in the mouse hippocampus. Administration of 2-phenylethylamine, however, failed to reverse the effect of DSP-4. The neuroprotective effect of M-2-PP and 2-HxMP is apparently unrelated to the uptake of DSP-4.