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Selectivity of the Parkinsonian Neurotoxin MPTP: Toxic Metabolite MPP$^{+}$ Binds to Neuromelanin

Robert J. D'Amato, Zoe P. Lipman and Solomon H. Snyder
Science
New Series, Vol. 231, No. 4741 (Feb. 28, 1986), pp. 987-989
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1696962
Page Count: 3
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Selectivity of the Parkinsonian Neurotoxin MPTP: Toxic Metabolite MPP$^{+}$ Binds to Neuromelanin
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Abstract

Methylphenyltetrahydropyridine (MPTP) selectively destroys neuronal cell bodies in the melanin-containing substantia nigra of humans and other primates. We show that methylphenylpyridine (MPP$^{+}$), an active metabolite of MPTP which is accumulated intraneuronally by the catecholamine uptake system, binds with high affinity to melanin and neuromelanin. MPP$^{+}$ bound intracellularly to neuromelanin may be released gradually, resulting in subsequent damage to the neurons of the substantia nigra.

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