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Med Res Rev. 2005 Nov;25(6):737-57.

Eburnamine derivatives and the brain.

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Chemical Works of Gedeon Richter Ltd., Budapest, Hungary.


The Apocynaceae plant family contains a great number of so called eburnamine-vincamine alkaloids. Quite a few of these alkaloids exert varied pharmacological activities on the cell multiplication, cardiovascular system, and brain functions. Many derivatives were also synthesized to find pharmacologically active compounds better characterized and safer to be administered than the natural plant alkaloids themselves. We concentrate on the eburnamine structures with cerebral activities in this review. Vincamine, vinburnine, vindeburnol, apovincaminate, and vinpocetine (cis-ethyl-apovincaminate) all share modulatory effects on brain circulation and neuronal homeostasis, bear antihypoxic and neuroprotective potencies to various degrees. The most eminent compound of this class of alkaloids is vinpocetine. Since its introduction to the market as a neuroprotective agent many non clinical and clinical studies proved vinpocetine's effects on calmodulin dependent phosphodiesterase E1, on sodium, calcium channels, peripheral benzodiazepine receptor, and glutamate receptors as well as its clinical usefulness in the treatment of post-ischaemic stroke disease states and various disorders of cerebrovascular origin. Lately, positron emission tomography studies proved that vinpocetine has a rapid uptake in the primate and human brain with a heterogeneous distribution pattern (preference areas: thalamus, basal ganglia, and visual cortex) both after intravenous and oral administration. Vinpocetine exerts beneficial effects in cerebral glucose metabolism and regional cerebral blood flow in chronic post-stroke patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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