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J Affect Disord. 1998 Dec;51(3):287-303.

Preclinical profile of befloxatone, a new reversible MAO-A inhibitor.

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  • 1Central Nervous System Research Department, Synthelabo Recherche, Rueil-Malmaison, France.


Befloxatone, a novel oxazolidinone derivative, is a potent, selective and reversible monoamine oxidase A (MAO-A) inhibitor in vitro (K1A = 1.9-3.6 nM) and ex vivo (ED50 MAO-A = 0.02 mg/kg, p.o.). It does not interact with a large number of receptors, monoamine transporters or other amine oxidases. Binding studies with [3H]-befloxatone in rat brain sections show that it labels with high affinity (Kd = 1.3 nM) a single population of sites with the pharmacological characteristics and regional distribution of MAO-A. In the rat brain, befloxatone (0.75 mg/kg, i.p.) increases tissue levels of monoamines and decreases levels of their deaminated metabolites. Acute administration of befloxatone (0.75 mg/kg, i.p.) induces an increase in extracellular striatal dopamine and cortical norepinephrine but not cortical serotonin levels in the rat. Befloxatone (1 mg/kg, i.p.) potently inhibits the firing rate of serotonergic neurons, partially decreases the firing of noradrenergic neurons and has no effect on the firing of dopaminergic neurons (a mirror image of its effects on monoamine release in terminal regions), suggesting that the relative effects of befloxatone on monoamine release may be governed by autoreceptor-mediated control of monoaminergic neurons at the cell body level. Befloxatone (0.03-0.3 mg/kg, p.o.) exhibits potent activity in behavioural models predictive of antidepressant activity. Befloxatone (up to 1.5 mg/kg, p.o.) does not potentiate the pressor effects of orally administered tyramine at centrally active doses and duodenal [3H]-befloxatone binding is displaced by increasing doses of orally administered tyramine (0.1-40 mg/kg, i.p.). These results suggest that befloxatone is a potent reversible MAO-A inhibitor with antidepressant potential and a wide safety margin with regard to the potentiation of the pressor effect of tyramine.

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