Pharmaceutical interest

Sympatholytic properties: Cassytha filiformis L. contains ocoteine, an aporphine alkaloid which blocks competitively a^adrenoreceptors of rat thoracic aorta. At high concentration, this alkaloid blocks 5-hydroxytryptaminergic receptors and acts on ventricular myocytes (Chang CW et al., 1997).

Common names: Dodder-laurel, snotty-gobble, chemarbatu (Malay).

Uses: In Malaysia, a lotion consisting of powdered Cassytha filiformis L. and sesame oil is used externally to stimulate hair growth. In Indonesia, Cassytha filiformis L. is used to expel intestinal worms, and it is combined with nutmeg in order to assuage stomach and bowel discomfort. In the Philippines, a decoction of the fresh plant is drunk to induce parturition and to stop haemoptysis. In Taiwan, the stems are used to promote urination, to treat gonorrhea and to assuage kidney discomfort. In Vietnam, the plant is used to expel impurities, to treat syphilis and to treat pulmonary diseases.

Fig. 20. Hypothetical pharmacological properties Cassythia filiformis L alkaloids: the blockade of a1 -adrenoreceptors stimulates urination through relaxation of the trigone (T), ureter (UR) and sphincter (S). Blockade of

OCH,

Fig. 20. Hypothetical pharmacological properties Cassythia filiformis L alkaloids: the blockade of a1 -adrenoreceptors stimulates urination through relaxation of the trigone (T), ureter (UR) and sphincter (S). Blockade of

Physiological stimulation of «1-adre- -adreroreceptors fm^ates hak g^

through relaxation of hair follicles, smooth noreceptors contracts the smooth muscle and scalp vessels. Contraction of muscle of arteries, veins, splenic uterus through prostaglandin. F2a. capsules, uterus, vas deferent, prostatic capsules, iris radial muscles (mydriasis), trigone and sphincter of the urinary bladder, ureter, hair follicles, and increases gland secretion.

An example of a1 -adrenoreceptor blocker is prazosin which is currently used to reduce blood pressure. This drug preserves pre-junctionnal a2-receptors function and prevents an unmodulated disproportionate increase in noradrenaline release with sym-pathic activation. The a1 -adrenoreceptor antagonist property of ocoteine and probably of other isoquino-line analogues, could explain some of the medicinal uses mentioned above (Fig. 20). The hair tonic property of Cassythia filiformis L could be mediated via a blockade of a1 -adrenergic receptors of the hair follicles, and vasodilatation of the vessels that irrigate the scalp. Minoxidil is a vasodilator is used to stimulate hair growth. The diuretic use of Cassytha filiformis L. may involve relaxation of the trigone, sphincter and ureter. The parturition-inducing property of Cassythia filiformis L. does not

OCH,

OCH,

Ocoteine

OCH,

Ocoteine result from ^-adrenoceptors blockade but probably from prostaglandin.F2a through the activation of phospholipase A2 or cyclo-oxygenase. Prostaglandin F2a contracts the uterus and is used in veterinary medicine to cause abortion. This phospholipase A2-or cyclo-oxygenase-mediated mechanism may explain the fact that ocoteine inhibits the aggregation of platelets (Chang FR et a/., 1998).

This plant elaborates a number of cytotoxic aporphine alkaloids such as neolit-sine, cassythine and actinodaphnine. Neolitsine alleviates HeLa and 3T3 cells (IC50: 21.6 ¡M, and 21.4¡M, respectively), and cassythine and actinodaphnine are active against Mel-5 (IC50: 24.3¡M and 25.7¡M, respectively) and HL-60 (IC 50: 19.9¡M and 15.4¡M, respectively)(Stevigny C eta/., 2002).

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