Contribution of β-phenethylamine, a component of chocolate and wine, to dopaminergic neurodegeneration: implications for the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease
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- Borah, A., Paul, R., Mazumder, M.K. et al. Neurosci. Bull. (2013) 29: 655. doi:10.1007/s12264-013-1330-2
While the cause of dopaminergic neuronal cell death in Parkinson’s disease (PD) is not yet understood, many endogenous molecules have been implicated in its pathogenesis. β-phenethylamine (β-PEA), a component of various food items including chocolate and wine, is an endogenous molecule produced from phenylalanine in the brain. It has been reported recently that long-term administration of β-PEA in rodents causes neurochemical and behavioral alterations similar to that produced by parkinsonian neurotoxins. The toxicity of β-PEA has been linked to the production of hydroxyl radical (.OH) and the generation of oxidative stress in dopaminergic areas of the brain, and this may be mediated by inhibition of mitochondrial complex-I. Another signifi cant observation is that administration of β-PEA to rodents reduces striatal dopamine content and induces movement disorders similar to those of parkinsonian rodents. However, no reports are available on the extent of dopaminergic neuronal cell death after administration of β-PEA. Based on the literature, we set out to establish β-PEA as an endogenous molecule that potentially contributes to the progressive development of PD. The sequence of molecular events that could be responsible for dopaminergic neuronal cell death in PD by consumption of β-PEA-containing foods is proposed here. Thus, long-term over-consumption of food items containing β-PEA could be a neurological risk factor having significant pathological consequences.