R-deprenyl: pharmacological spectrum of its activity

Neurochem Res. 2010 Dec;35(12):1922-32. doi: 10.1007/s11064-010-0238-8. Epub 2010 Aug 20.


Deprenyl has been discovered by Knoll and co-workers. The R-enantiomer of deprenyl (selegiline) is a selective and irreversible inhibitor of the B-isoform of monoamine oxidase (MAO-B) enzyme. Due to its dopamine potentiating and possible neuroprotective properties it has an established role in the treatment of parkinsonian patients. By inhibiting MAO-B enzyme, R-deprenyl decreases the formation of hydrogen peroxide, alleviating the oxidative stress also reduced by increased expression of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutases and catalase) reported during chronic treatment. It was shown to prevent the detrimental effects of neurotoxins like MPTP and DSP-4. R-Deprenyl elicits neuroprotective and neuronal rescue activities in concentrations too low to inhibit MAO-B. It is extensively metabolized and some of the metabolites possess pharmacological activities, thus their contribution to neuroprotective properties was also suggested. The recently identified deprenyl-N-oxide is extensively studied in our laboratory. Effects other than neuroprotection, like influencing cell adhesion and proliferation cannot be neglected.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Selegiline / pharmacokinetics
  • Selegiline / pharmacology*
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Selegiline