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J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2007 Sep-Dec;9(6-8):665-72.

Theacrine, a special purine alkaloid with sedative and hypnotic properties from Cammelia assamica var. kucha in mice.

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School of Traditional Chinese Materia Medica, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang, China.


The central nervous system activities of theacrine (1,3,7,9-tetramethyluric acid), a purine alkaloid which is abundantly present in Camellia assamica var. kucha, were investigated in ambulatory activity, pentobarbital-induced sleep and forced swimming test in mice, compared with two other purine alkaloids, caffeine and theobromine. Caffeine treatment led to a marked increase in the ambulatory activity accompanied with decreasing of the immobility time in forced swimming test at both 10 and 30 mg/kg. Under the same conditions, neither theacrine nor theobromine showed obvious excited efficacy. Both doses of theacrine could significantly prolong the sleeping time induced by pentobarbital, while caffeine and theobromine exhibited an inverted effect. These results indicated that theacrine possessed potent sedative and hypnotic properties and its central nervous system effects were different from those of caffeine and theobromine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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