N-Acetylenic analogues of tryptamine in which the side chain is located at position 2 of the indole ring are compared with those in which the side chain is located at position 3, in terms of their actions as inhibitors of monoamine oxidases A and B. IC50 values at 0 and 30 min of pre-incubation were determined. Time-dependence and irreversible inhibition confirmed that all of them behave as mechanism-based inhibitors. The kinetic constants of each inhibition step were determined for both monoamine oxidase forms and compared between them. In all cases the first-order rate constants for the covalent adduct formation were similar to inhibitor selectivity which is derived solely from differences in affinities for non-covalent binding to the A and B enzymes. Those compounds where the acetylenic side chain was substituted at position 2 of the heterocyclic ring and selective inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A were more potent than those with the side chain in position 3. © 1993.