A Newly Identified Monoterpenoid-Based Small Molecule Able to Support the Survival of Primary Cultured Dopamine Neurons and Alleviate MPTP-Induced Toxicity In Vivo

Molecules. 2022 Nov 28;27(23):8286. doi: 10.3390/molecules27238286.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is the most common age-related movement disorder characterized by the progressive loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons. To date, PD treatment strategies are mostly based on dopamine replacement medicines, which can alleviate motor symptoms but do not slow down the progression of neurodegeneration. Thus, there is a need for disease-modifying PD therapies. The aim of this work was to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of the novel compound PA96 on dopamine neurons in vivo and in vitro, assess its ability to alleviate motor deficits in MPTP- and haloperidol-based PD models, as well as PK profile and BBB penetration. PA96 was synthesized from (1R,2R,6S)-3-methyl-6-(prop-1-en-2-yl) cyclohex-3-ene-1,2-diol (Prottremin) using the original three-step stereoselective procedure. We found that PA96: (1) supported the survival of cultured näive dopamine neurons; (2) supported the survival of MPP+-challenged dopamine neurons in vitro and in vivo; (3) had chemically appropriate properties (synthesis, solubility, etc.); (4) alleviated motor deficits in MPTP- and haloperidol-based models of PD; (5) penetrated the blood-brain barrier in vivo; and (6) was eliminated from the bloodstream relative rapidly. In conclusion, the present article demonstrates the identification of PA96 as a lead compound for the future development of this compound into a clinically used drug.

Keywords: MPTP; Parkinson’s disease; Prottremin; dopamine neurons; drug development; epoxydiol; medicinal chemistry; neurodegeneration; small molecules; tyrosine hydroxylase.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dopaminergic Neurons
  • Haloperidol / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • MPTP Poisoning* / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents* / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Parkinson Disease* / drug therapy
  • Substantia Nigra


  • Monoterpenes
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Haloperidol