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Neurotoxicity Research

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 653–668 | Cite as

Not Just from Ethanol. Tetrahydroisoquinolinic (TIQ) Derivatives: from Neurotoxicity to Neuroprotection

  • Alessandra T. PeanaEmail author
  • Valentina Bassareo
  • Elio AcquasEmail author
Review Article

Abstract

The 1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinolines (TIQs) are compounds frequently described as alkaloids that can be found in the human body fluids and/or tissues including the brain. In most circumstances, TIQs may be originated as a consequence of reactions, known as Pictet-Spengler condensations, between biogenic amines and electrophilic carbonyl compounds, including ethanol’s main metabolite, acetaldehyde. Several TIQs may also be synthesized enzymatically whilst others may be formed in the body as by-products of other compounds including TIQs themselves. The biological actions of TIQs appear critically dependent on their metabolism, and nowadays, among TIQs, 1-methyl-6,7-dihydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (salsolinol), N-methyl-1-methyl-6,7-dihydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (N-methyl-(R)-salsolinol), 1-[(3,4-dihydroxyphenyl)methyl]-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline-6,7-diol (norlaudanosoline or tetrahydropapaveroline or THP) and 1-benzyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (1BnTIQ) are considered as those endowed with the most potent neurotoxic actions. However, it remains to be established whether a continuous exposure to TIQs or to their metabolites might carry toxicological consequences in the short- or long-term period. Remarkably, recent findings suggest that some TIQs such as (1-[(4-hydroxyphenyl)methyl]-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline-6,7-diol) (higenamine) and 1-methyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (1-MeTIQ) as well as N-methyl-tetrahydroisoquinoline (N-methyl-TIQ) exert unique neuroprotective and neurorestorative actions. The present review article provides an overview on these aspects of TIQs and summarizes those that presently appear the most significant highlights on this puzzling topic.

Keywords

Tetrahydroisoquinolines Ethanol Neurotoxicity Neuroprotection 

Notes

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and PharmacyUniversity of SassariSassariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Biomedical Sciences, National Institute of Neuroscience, Cagliari section, Center of Excellence for the Study of Neurobiology of Addiction, University CampusUniversity of CagliariMonserrato (Cagliari)Italy
  3. 3.Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, Center of Excellence for the Study of Neurobiology of Addiction, University CampusUniversity of CagliariMonserrato (Cagliari)Italy

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