The therapeutic potential of monoamine oxidase inhibitors

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Apr;7(4):295-309. doi: 10.1038/nrn1883.


Monoamine oxidase inhibitors were among the first antidepressants to be discovered and have long been used as such. It now seems that many of these agents might have therapeutic value in several common neurodegenerative conditions, independently of their inhibition of monoamine oxidase activity. However, many claims and some counter-claims have been made about the physiological importance of these enzymes and the potential of their inhibitors. We evaluate these arguments in the light of what we know, and still have to learn, of the structure, function and genetics of the monoamine oxidases and the disparate actions of their inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Monoamine Oxidase / chemistry
  • Monoamine Oxidase / metabolism
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / classification
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Monoamine Oxidase