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Life Sci. 1995;57(15):PL225-30.

Effects of methylecgonidine on acetylcholine-induced bronchoconstriction and indicators of lung injury in guinea pigs.

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  • 1Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University Medical Center, Tuxedo 10987, USA.


The fumarate salt of methylecgonidine (MEG; anhydroecgonine methylester), a pyrolysis product of cocaine, has previously been shown to antagonize contractions of guinea pig isolated trachea induced by acetylcholine (ACh) and other spasmogenics. We determined the effects of MEG fumarate on ACh-induced bronchoconstriction in vivo. Specific airway conductance (SGaw) was measured in guinea pigs receiving 30-300 mg/kg s.c. MEG fumarate and exposed one hour later to nebulized ACh (0.2-3.2%; by inhalation). MEG fumarate did not induce any changes in SGaw; neither did it antagonize dose-dependent decreases in SGaw induced by ACh. However, tremors, salivation, startle and increased numbers of fecal boli were observed after MEG administration. Thus, unlike antagonism of ACh-induced contractions of guinea pig isolated trachea observed in vitro, MEG fumarate does not antagonize ACh-induced bronchoconstriction in vivo, even at doses which induced changes in grossly-observable behavior. Inhalation of a condensation aerosol of MEG base induced lung damage as evidenced by the presence of blood and higher levels of protein and lactate dehydrogenase in the lung lavage fluid of MEG-treated animals than of control animals. Aerosols of MEG fumarate, on the other hand, did not induce lung damage when inhaled. These results extend previous observations that MEG base may contribute to detrimental pulmonary effects of crack smoking.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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