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Monoamine oxidases (MAO) are a family of enzymes that catalyze the oxidation of monoamines, employing oxygen to clip off their amine group. They are found bound to the outer membrane of mitochondria in most cell types of the body. MAOs are important in the breakdown of monoamines ingested in food, and also serve to inactivate monoamine neurotransmitters. Because of the latter, they are involved in a number of psychiatric and neurological diseases, some of which can be treated with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) which block the action of MAOs.
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