Molecular mechanism of the relation of monoamine oxidase B and its inhibitors to Parkinson's disease: possible implications of glial cells

J Neural Transm Suppl. 2006;(71):53-65. doi: 10.1007/978-3-211-33328-0_7.


Monoamine oxidases A and B (MAO A and MAO B) are the major enzymes that catalyze the oxidative deamination of monoamine neurotaransmitters such as dopamine (DA), noradrenaline, and serotonin in the central and peripheral nervous systems. MAO B is mainly localized in glial cells. MAO B also oxidizes the xenobiotic 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) to a parkinsonism-producing neurotoxin, 1-methyl-4-phenyl-pyridinium (MPP+). MAO B may be closely related to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease (PD), in which neuromelanin-containing DA neurons in the substantia nigra projecting to the striatum in the brain selectively degenerate. MAO B degrades the neurotransmitter DA that is deficient in the nigro-striatal region in PD, and forms H2O2 and toxic aldehyde metabolites of DA. H2O2 produces highly toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS) by Fenton reaction that is catalyzed by iron and neuromelanin. MAO B inhibitors such as L-(-)-deprenyl (selegiline) and rasagiline are effective for the treatment of PD. Concerning the mechanism of the clinical efficacy of MAO B inhibitors in PD, the inhibition of DA degradation (a symptomatic effect) and also the prevention of the formation of neurotoxic DA metabolites, i.e., ROS and dopamine derived aldehydes have been speculated. As another mechanism of clinical efficacy, MAO B inhibitors such as selegiline are speculated to have neuroprotective effects to prevent progress of PD. The possible mechanism of neuroprotection of MAO B inhibitors may be related not only to MAO B inhibition but also to induction and activation of multiple factors for anti-oxidative stress and anti-apoptosis: i.e., catalase, superoxide dismutase 1 and 2, thioredoxin, Bcl-2, the cellular poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation, and binding to glyceraldehydes-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). Furthermore, it should be noted that selegiline increases production of neurotrophins such as nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and glial cell line-derived neurotrphic factor (GDNF), possibly from glial cells, to protect neurons from inflammatory process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Monoamine Oxidase / genetics*
  • Monoamine Oxidase / metabolism
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Parkinson Disease / enzymology*


  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Monoamine Oxidase