, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 121-128

MAO-A inhibition in brain after dosing with esuprone, moclobemide and placebo in healthy volunteers: in vivo studies with positron emission tomography

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Objective: The aim of the study was to investigate whether or not esuprone binds substantially to MAO-A in the human brain. Methods: In a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled study 16 male healthy volunteers were examined␣with positron emission tomography (PET) with [11C]harmine. Eight of the volunteers were given daily doses of 800 mg esuprone, four were given bi-daily doses of 300 mg moclobemide, and four volunteers were given placebo tablets. PET was performed before initiation of a 7-day treatment period. On day 7, one investigation was made immediately before administration of the drug, representing 23 h after the previous day's treatment for esuprone and 11 h after the last tablets of moclobemide. Further investigations were made 4 h and 8 h after the morning dose on day 7. Results: PET showed a high degree of binding of [11C]harmine, a high-affinity ligand for MAO-A, before the start of treatment, and a marked and similar reduction after treatment with esuprone and moclobemide. A slight tendency for normalisation of enzyme binding was observed at the last time point. In the placebo group no change was observed. Plasma kinetics of esuprone showed a rapid elimination with a half-life of about 4 h. Conclusion: The study demonstrates that esuprone was comparable to moclobemide in its effect on MAO-A inhibition in the brain at the doses given. This is an illustration of the potential of PET to monitor drug effects directly on target biochemical systems in the brain in human volunteers, and the possibility of using these data, rather than pharmacokinetic data, for the determination of dosing intervals.

Received: 21 August 1996 / Accepted in revised form: 22 November 1996