plants alkaloids tetrandrine and berbamine


Inhibition of prostaglandin and leukotriene generation by the plant alkaloids tetrandrine and berbamine
We compared the effects of two bisbenzylisoquinoline compounds on leukotriene and prostaglandin generation by human monocytes and neutrophils. The results show that tetrandrine had a much greater effect than berbamine on leukotriene generation. However, both compounds were equally potent in suppression of prostaglandin generation. This inhibitory effect on prostaglandin generation can be overcome by exogenous arachidonic acid (AA), suggesting that the site of inhibition is not on the cyclo-oxygenase enzyme complex, but more proximally on the phospholipase-mediated release of AA from the cell membrane, similar to the action of corticosteroids. These results, together with previous findings of inhibitory effects on other inflammatory mediators such as histamine, platelet-activating-factor (PAF) and interleukin 1 (IL-1) indicate that these plant alkaloids may be useful lead compounds for the development of a new class of anti-inflammatory drugs.
B.S. Teha, W.K. Seowa, S.Y. Lia and Y.H. Thong. International Journal of Immunopharmacology. Volume 12, Issue 3, 1990, Pp. 321-6. doi:10.1016/0192-0561(90)90088-5

Anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties of the bis-benzylisoquinolines: In vitro comparisons of tetrandrine and berbamine
Tetrandrine and berbamine are two naturally occuring analogues with a bis-benzylisoquinoline structure. Comparative in vitro studies show that tetrandrine has significantly greater suppressive effects on adherence, locomotion and 3H-deoxyglucose uptake of neutrophils, as well as the mitogen-induced lymphocyte responses and mixed lymphocyte reactions. Also, tetrandrine displayed anti-oxidant activity while berbamine did not. By contrast, berbamine demonstrated a significantly greater capacity for inhibition of NK cell cytotoxicity.
These results show that tetrandrine is superior to berbamine in most aspects of anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activity. Since these two alkaloids differ by only one substitution in the side chain of one of the benzene rings, these findings may provide further insight into structure –– activity relationships and clues to the synthesis and development of active analogues of this promising class of drugs for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Li Si-ying, Ling Li-Hua, B.S. Teh, W.K. Seow and Y.H. Thong. International Journal of Immunopharmacology. Volume 11, Issue 4, 1989, Pp. 395-401 doi:10.1016/0192-0561(89)90086-6
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