Levodopa or L-DOPA, whose term in the official IUPAC nomenclature is: 2S-amino-3- (3,4-dihydroxyphenyl) propanoic acid is a non-protein α-amino acid with a brute or molecular formula: C9H11NO4.
This substance is a non-protein α-amino acid, structurally similar to L-phenylalanine and, above all, to the L-tyrosine from which it derives and with which it belongs to the Fischer L steric series (common to all common protein amino acids) .
From the physical point of view it is a white crystalline substance, odorless and tasteless, with a melting point of 276-278 ° C and which, like the other amino acids, exists in the zwitterionic form (isoelectric point pI = 5.5). It is also not very soluble in water and insoluble in common organic solvents.
Levodopa, like most phenols, oxidizes in the air, especially when humid, and becomes colored.
In nature, levodopa is present in some plants including fresh broad beans (Vicia faba L. 1753).
L-DOPA is an optically active, left-handed substance, [α] D13 = −13.1 °.
From a biochemical point of view this substance is biosynthesized by the action of tyrosine hydroxylase on the amino acid L-tyrosine. It is the precursor of important catecholamine neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and adrenaline (epinephrine). In particular, dopamine is formed by enzymatic decarboxylation of L-DOPA.
Due to its characteristics, levodopa is used in the treatment of symptoms of parkinsonism, in particular of Parkinson’s disease, post-encephalitic parkinsonism and symptomatic parkinsonism following carbon monoxide or manganese poisoning.
In the absence of this substance, it can also be taken orally in the form of capsules or tablets. It is usually given together with agents that inhibit its conversion to dopamine outside the central nervous system.
The intake of levodopa, especially for the resulting contraindications and the warnings to follow, must be carefully followed and monitored under close supervision by a doctor.
In fact, among the most common side effects of Levodopa observed in more than 1 patient in 10) we have dyskinesia (involuntary movements), aggravated parkinsonism (worsening of Parkinson’s disease), nausea and harmless discoloration of the urine.
Warning: The information shown is not medical advice and may not be accurate. The contents are for illustrative purposes only and do not replace medical advice.