Monoamine Oxidase B (MAO-B): A Target for Rational Drug Development in Schizophrenia Using PET Imaging as an Example

Adv Neurobiol. 2023;30:335-362. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-21054-9_14.


Monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) is an important high-density enzyme involved in the generation of oxidative stress and central in the catabolism of dopamine, particularly in brain subcortical regions with putative implications in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. In this chapter, we review postmortem studies, preclinical models, and peripheral and genetic studies implicating MAO-B in psychosis. A literature search in PubMed was conducted and 64 studies were found to be eligible for systematic review. We found that MAO-B could be identified as a potential target in schizophrenia. Evidence comes mostly from studies of peripheral markers, showing reduced platelet MAO-B activity in schizophrenia, together with preclinical results from MAO-B knock-out mice resulting in a hyperdopaminergic state and behavioral disinhibition. However, whether brain MAO-B is altered in vivo in patients with schizophrenia remains unknown. We therefore review methodological studies involving MAO-B positron emission tomography (PET) radioligands used to quantify MAO-B in vivo in the human brain. Given the limitations of currently available treatments for schizophrenia, elucidating whether MAO-B could be used as a target for risk stratification or clinical staging in schizophrenia could allow for a rational search for newer antipsychotics and the development of new treatments.

Keywords: Antipsychotics; Astroglial dysfunction; Dopamine; MAO-B; PET; Psychosis; Striatum.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antipsychotic Agents* / chemistry
  • Antipsychotic Agents* / pharmacology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Monoamine Oxidase* / drug effects
  • Monoamine Oxidase* / metabolism
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Schizophrenia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Schizophrenia* / drug therapy


  • Monoamine Oxidase
  • Antipsychotic Agents