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Life Sci. 1994;54(14):991-7.

Huperzine A as a pretreatment candidate drug against nerve agent toxicity.

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Israel Institute for Biological Research, Ness-Ziona.


Huperzine A (HUP) is a naturally-occurring, potent, reversible inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) that crosses the blood-brain barrier. To examine its ability to protect against nerve agent poisoning, HUP was administered i.p. to mice, and the s.c. LD50 of soman was determined at various time intervals after pretreatment. Results were compared to those obtained for animals treated with physostigmine. A protective ratio of approximately 2 was maintained for at least 6 hr after a single injection of HUP, without the need for any post-challenge drug therapy. By contrast, pretreatment with physostigmine increased the LD50 of soman by 1.4- to 1.5-fold for only up to 90 min. The long-lasting antidotal efficacy displayed by HUP correlated with the time course of the blood-AChE inhibition. The results suggest that the protection of animals by HUP from soman poisoning was achieved by temporarily sequestering the active site region of the physiologically important AChE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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