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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.86  suppl.2 Rio de Janeiro  1991 

Development of natural products as drugs acting on central nervous system

Xing-Zu Zhu1 

Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Department of Pharmacology, Shanghai, People's Republic of China


We have recenty studied several natural product constituents which have effects on the CNS. (1) Tetrahydropalmatine (THP) and its analogues were isolated from Corydalis ambigua and various species of Stephania. (+)-THP and (-)-THP posses not only analgesic activity, but also exert sedative-tranquillizing and hypnotic actions. Results of receptor binding assay and their pre-and post-synaptic effects on dopaminergic system indicate that (-)-THP and (-)-stepholidine are dopamine receptor antagonists while (+)-THP is a selective dopamine depletor. (2) 3-Acetylaconitine (AAC) is an alkaloid isolated from Aconitum flavum. The relative potency of analgesic action of AAC was 5.1-35.6 and 1250-3912 times that of morphine and aspirin, respectively. The analgesic effect of AAC was antagonized by naloxone, but was eliminated by reserpine. In monkeys, after AAC was injected for 92 days, no abstinence syndrome was seen after sudden AAC withdrawal or when challenged with nalorphine. (3) Huperzine A (Hup-A) is an alkaloid isolated from Huperzia serrata which was found to be a selective ChE inhibitor and could improve learning and retrieval process. Preliminary clinical studies showed that Hup-A improve short-and long-term memory in patients of cerebral arteriosclerosis with memory impairment. (4) Ranamargarin is a new tetradecapeptide isolated from the skin of the Chines frog Rana margaratae. This peptide may mainly act on NK-1 receptor.


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