Mucuna pruriens efficacy in Parkison disease: Systematic approach of clinically observed synergy
Seeds of Mucuna pruriens (Fabaceae) are traditionally used in India against Parkinson's disease (PD), a nosologic entity defined as such in Ayurveda by Kampavata. The beans contain up to 5% of L-DOPA, explaining its relevance in PD treatment. A large variety of phytochemicals are also present along with L-DOPA in the seeds, including other amino-acids and alkaloids from the ß-carboline and tetrahydroisoquinoline types. Several pharmacological studies on crude extracts have shown significant effects supporting a role for other compounds in the pharmacological effect. A clinical study has shown that at equivalent doses of L-DOPA, Mucuna seed powder led to faster and longer onset of L-DOPA plasmatic levels, without the expected higher dyskinesias3. The isolation of Mucuna seed alkaloids, amino acids and other compounds, as well as the approach for their pharmacological assessment on different biological targets is described (MAO inhibition, DDC inhibition, dopaminergic and cholinergic receptors, neuroprotection, membrane crossing facilitation) is described. A LC-based online MAO and/or DDC inhibition test is designed. The obtention of an extract specifically devoided from L-DOPA is also described and proposed for the assessment of putative synergy phenomena.