Monoamine Oxidases (MAOs) as Privileged Molecular Targets in Neuroscience: Research Literature Analysis


Background: Monoamine oxidases (MAOs) were discovered nearly a century ago. This article aims to analyze the research literature landscape associated with MAOs as privileged class of neuronal enzymes (neuroenzymes) with key functions in the processes of neurodegeneration, serving as important biological targets in neuroscience. With the accumulating publications on this topic, we aimed to evaluate the publication and citation performance of the contributors, reveal the popular research themes, and identify its historical roots.

Methods: The electronic database of Web of Science (WoS) Core Collection was searched to identify publications related to MAOs, which were analyzed according to their publication year, authorship, institutions, countries/regions, journal title, WoS category, total citation count, and publication type. VOSviewer was utilized to visualize the citation patterns of the words appearing in the titles and abstracts, and author keywords. CRExplorer was utilized to identify seminal references cited by the MAO publications.

Results: The literature analysis was based on 19,854 publications. Most of them were original articles (n = 15,148, 76.3%) and reviews (n = 2,039, 10.3%). The top five WoS categories of the analyzed MAO publications were Pharmacology/Pharmacy (n = 4,664, 23.5%), Neurosciences (n = 4,416, 22.2%), Psychiatry (n = 2,906, 14.6%), Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (n = 2,691, 13.6%), and Clinical Neurology (n = 1,754, 8.8%). The top 10 institutions are scattered in the United States, UK, France, Sweden, Canada, Israel, and Russia, while the top 10 countries/regions with the most intensive research on the field of MAOs are the United States, followed by European and Asian countries. More highly cited publications generally involved neurotransmitters, such as dopamine (DA), serotonin, and norepinephrine (NE), as well as the MAO-A inhibitors moclobemide and clorgyline, and the irreversible MAO-B inhibitors selegiline and rasagiline.

Conclusion: Through decades of research, the literature has accumulated many publications investigating the therapeutic effects of MAO inhibitors (MAOIs) on various neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and depression. We envision that MAO literature will continue to grow steadily, with more new therapeutic candidates being tested for better management of neurological conditions, in particular, with the development of multi-target acting drugs against neurodegenerative diseases.

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Yeung AWK, Georgieva MG, Atanasov AG and Tzvetkov NT. (2019) Monoamine Oxidases (MAOs) as Privileged Molecular Targets in Neuroscience: Research Literature Analysis. Front. Mol. Neurosci. 12:143. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2019.00143

Keywords: Monoamine Oxidases (MAOs), molecular targets, molecular neuroscience, tyramine, bibliometrics, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, depression, MAO-A, MAO-B, multi-target acting drugs, MAO inhibitors (MAOIs), dopamine (DA), serotonin, norepinephrine (NE), moclobemide, clorgyline, selegiline, rasagiline, neurodegeneration, neuroenzymes.

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