Neurochemical and neuroprotective aspects of phenelzine and its active metabolite B-phenylethylidenehydrazine

  • Author / Creator
    MacKenzie, Erin Margaret
  • Phenelzine (PLZ) is a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor that also inhibits the activity of GABA-transaminase (GABA-T), causing significant and long-lasting increases in brain GABA levels. Inhibition of MAO prior to PLZ administration has been shown to prevent the GABAergic effects of the drug, strongly suggesting that a metabolite of PLZ formed by the action of MAO is responsible for the GABAergic effects. While PLZ has been used clinically for decades for its antidepressant and antipanic effects, it has more recently been shown to be neuroprotective in an animal model of ischemia. The aim of the experiments described in this thesis was to identify the active metabolite of PLZ, and to determine the neurochemical mechanisms by which PLZ and this metabolite exert their neuroprotective effects (with a particular focus on degenerative mechanisms observed in cerebral ischemia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD)). The development of an analytical assay for β-phenylethylidenehydrazine (PEH) was a major breakthrough in this project and permitted the positive identification of this compound as the active metabolite of PLZ. Further experiments demonstrated that PLZ and PEH could be neuroprotective in cerebral ischemia and AD not only by reducing excitotoxicity via increased GABAergic transmission, but also by (a) increasing brain ornithine, which could potentially lead to a decrease in glutamate synthesis and/or a decrease in polyamines (whose metabolism produces toxic aldehydes); (b) inhibiting the activity of human semicarbazide-sensitive amine oxidase (SSAO), an enzyme whose activity is increased in AD producing excessive amounts of the toxic aldehyde formaldehyde (FA); (c) by sequestering FA in vitro, forming a non-reactive hydrazone product. Since PEH appears to mediate or share the neurochemical effects of PLZ, two propargylated analogs of PEH were synthesized and tested for their potential as PEH prodrugs. Surprisingly these analogs were not particularly effective prodrugs in vivo, but they possessed an interesting neurochemical properties on their own (the ability to elevate brain levels of glycine), and warrant further investigation as potential antipsychotic agents. Together, these results suggest that PLZ and its active metabolite, PEH, should be further investigated for their neuroprotective potential in cerebral ischemia and in AD.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2009
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Kerr, Bradley (Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine)
    • Greenshaw, Andy (Psychiatry)
    • Le Melledo, Jean Michel (Psychiatry)
    • Mousseau, Darrell (Psychiatry, University of Saskatchewan)