Human monoamine oxidase enzyme inhibition by coffee and beta-carbolines norharman and harman isolated from coffee
Herraiz T, Chaparro C.
Spanish Council for Scientific Research. CSIC.
Instituto de Fermentaciones Industriales,
Juan de la Cierva, 3,
28006 Madrid, Spain.
Life Sci. 2005 Aug 30


Monoamine oxidase (MAO) is a mitochondrial outer-membrane flavoenzyme involved in brain and peripheral oxidative catabolism of neurotransmitters and xenobiotic amines, including neurotoxic amines, and a well-known target for antidepressant and neuroprotective drugs. Recent epidemiological studies have consistently shown that coffee drinkers have an apparently lower incidence of Parkinson's disease (PD), suggesting that coffee might somehow act as a purported neuroprotectant. In this paper, "ready to drink" coffee brews exhibited inhibitory properties on recombinant human MAO A and B isozymes catalyzing the oxidative deamination of kynuramine, suggesting that coffee contains compounds acting as MAO inhibitors. MAO inhibition was reversible and competitive for MAO A and MAO B. Subsequently, the pyrido-indole (beta-carboline) alkaloids, norharman and harman, were identified and isolated from MAO-inhibiting coffee, and were good inhibitors on MAO A (harman and norharman) and MAO B (norharman) isozymes. beta-carbolines isolated from ready-to-drink coffee were competitive and reversible inhibitors and appeared up to 210 mug/L, confirming that coffee is the most important exogenous source of these alkaloids in addition to cigarette smoking. Inhibition of MAO enzymes by coffee and the presence of MAO inhibitors that are also neuroactive, such as beta-carbolines and eventually others, might play a role in the neuroactive actions including a purported neuroprotection associated with coffee consumption.
Coffee and sex
Coffee and fags
Breakfast coffee
Adenosine and reward
Caffeine hallucinations
Coffee and caffeine FAQ
Nootropics ('smart drugs')
Hypersomnia and depression
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Coffee and suicide prevention?
Adenosine receptor antagonists

and further reading

Future Opioids
BLTC Research
Utopian Surgery?
The Abolitionist Project
The Hedonistic Imperative
The Reproductive Revolution
Critique of Huxley's Brave New World

The Good Drug Guide
The Good Drug Guide

The Responsible Parent's Guide
To Healthy Mood Boosters For All The Family