Brain research

Neurotoxic effects of papaverine, tetrahydropapaverine and dimethoxyphenylethylamine on dopaminergic neurons in ventral mesencephalic-striatal co-culture.

PMID 9134983


We report neurotoxic effects of papaverine, tetrahydropapaverine, dimethoxyphenylethylamine (DMPEA), and 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium ion (MPP+) on dopaminergic neurons in ventral mesencephalic-striatal co-culture. These compounds have been reported as mitochondrial toxins which may be implicated in the etiology and pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons were decreased in dose-dependent manner by these compounds. Papaverine and MPP+ were most toxic to TH-positive neurons among the compounds tested. The order of the toxicity on TH-positive neurons was papaverine, MPP+, tetrahydropapaverine and then DMPEA. This order of toxicity was approximately the same as that reported on the inhibitory effect of these compounds on NADH-linked mitochondrial respiration and complex I activity. These findings indicate that the presence of dimethoxy residues in the catechol ring augments toxicity to dopaminergic neurons in culture.