Pargyline prevents MPTP-induced parkinsonism in primates

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  28 Sep 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4669, pp. 1480-1482
DOI: 10.1126/science.6332378


1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) is a neurotoxin which produces permanent parkinsonism in human and nonhuman primates. Treatment of squirrel monkeys with pargyline, a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, prevents both clinical and neuropathological evidence of the neurotoxic effects of MPTP. Pargyline also inhibits conversion of MPTP to 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+), a metabolic step that occurs rapidly after administration of MPTP in animals not treated with pargyline. It is proposed that the conversion of MPTP to MPP+, possibly involving MAO, may be important for the neurotoxic effects of MPTP to take place, and MPTP itself may not be the neurotoxic agent.