The compound 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP), which produces symptoms resembling Parkinson's disease in humans, acts both as a substrate and an enzyme-activated irreversible inhibitor of the B-form of monoamine oxidase from rat liver. Analysis of the inhibitory process showed the compound to be considerably more efficient as a substrate than as an irreversible inhibitor, with about 17000 mol of product being formed per mol of enzyme inactivated. The half-time of the inhibitory process was about 22 min. With the A-form of the enzyme, the compound had a lower Km value and a considerably lower maximum velocity than the corresponding values obtained with the B-form. Under the conditions used in the present work the inhibition of the A-form of the enzyme was largely reversible.

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