From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
CAS number 5843-65-2 YesY, 106032-53-5 (R) YesY, 22672-77-1 (S) YesY
PubChem 114840
ChemSpider 102800 YesY
KEGG C06346 YesY
MeSH higenamine
ChEBI CHEBI:18418 YesY
Jmol-3D images Image 1
Molecular formula C16H17NO3
Molar mass 271.31 g mol−1
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C (77 °F), 100 kPa)
 YesY (verify) (what is: YesY/N?)
Infobox references

Higenamine (norcoclaurine) is a chemical compound found in a variety of plants including Nandina domestica (fruit), Aconitum carmichaelii (root), Asarum heterotropioides, Galium divaricatum (stem and vine), Annona squamosa, and Nelumbo nucifera (lotus seeds).


Since higenamine is present in plants which have a history of use in traditional medicine, the pharmacology of this compound has attracted scientific interest. A variety of effects have been observed in in vitro studies and in animal models, but its effects in humans are unknown.

The results of a 2009 study exposed the compound as a beta-2 adrenergic receptor agonist.[1]

In animal models, higenamine has been demonstrated to be a beta-2 adrenergic receptor agonist.[1][2][3][4][5] Adrenergic receptors, or adrenoceptors, belong to the class of G-protein coupled receptors, and are the most prominent receptors in the adipose membrane, besides also being expressed in skeletal muscle tissue. These adipose-membrane receptors are classified as either alpha- or beta-adrenoceptors. Although these adrenoceptors share the same messenger, cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), the specific transduction pathway depends on the receptor type (alpha or beta). Higenamine partly exerts its actions by the activation of an enzyme, adenylate cyclase, responsible for boosting the cellular concentrations of the adrenergic second messenger, cAMP.[6]

In a rodent model, it was found that higenamine produced cardiotonic, vascular relaxation, and bronchodilator effects.[7][8] In particular, higenamine, via a beta-adrenoceptor mechanism, induced relaxation in rat corpus cavernosum, leading to improved vasodilation and erectile function.

Related to improved vasodilatory signals, higenamine has been shown in animal models to possess anti-platelet and antithrombotic activity via a cAMP-dependent pathway, suggesting higenamine may contribute to enhanced vasodilation and arterial integrity.[1][6][8][9]


Regarding toxicity, researchers have suggested that the levels of higenamine reported in food consumption (estimated 47.5 mg in a 9-ounce serving of Lotus) would be comparable to the amount used in food supplements.[citation needed] Higenamine is a beta-adrenergic agonist which has effects on the function of trachea and heart muscles.[10][11] During a study of acute toxicity, mice were orally administered the compound at a dose of 2 g per kg of bodyweight. No mice died during the study.[12] The serious heart-related side effects, including arrhythmias and even death, of aconite consumption may be caused by higenamine.[13]


  1. ^ a b c Tsukiyama, M; Ueki, T; Yasuda, Y; Kikuchi, H; Akaishi, T; Okumura, H; Abe, K (2009). "Beta2-adrenoceptor-mediated tracheal relaxation induced by higenamine from Nandina domestica Thunberg". Planta medica 75 (13): 1393–9. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1185743. PMID 19468973. 
  2. ^ Kashiwada, Y; Aoshima, A; Ikeshiro, Y; Chen, YP; Furukawa, H; Itoigawa, M; Fujioka, T; Mihashi, K et al. (2005). "Anti-HIV benzylisoquinoline alkaloids and flavonoids from the leaves of Nelumbo nucifera, and structure-activity correlations with related alkaloids". Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 13 (2): 443–8. doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2004.10.020. PMID 15598565. 
  3. ^ Kimura, I; Chui, LH; Fujitani, K; Kikuchi, T; Kimura, M (1989). "Inotropic effects of (+/-)-higenamine and its chemically related components, (+)-R-coclaurine and (+)-S-reticuline, contained in the traditional sino-Japanese medicines "bushi" and "shin-i" in isolated guinea pig papillary muscle". Japanese journal of pharmacology 50 (1): 75–8. doi:10.1254/jjp.50.75. PMID 2724702. 
  4. ^ Kang, YJ; Lee, YS; Lee, GW; Lee, DH; Ryu, JC; Yun-Choi, HS; Chang, KC (1999). "Inhibition of activation of nuclear factor kappaB is responsible for inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase expression by higenamine, an active component of aconite root". The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 291 (1): 314–20. PMID 10490919. 
  5. ^ Yun-Choi, HS; Pyo, MK; Park, KM; Chang, KC; Lee, DH (2001). "Anti-thrombotic effects of higenamine". Planta medica 67 (7): 619–22. doi:10.1055/s-2001-17361. PMID 11582538. 
  6. ^ a b Kam, SC; Do, JM; Choi, JH; Jeon, BT; Roh, GS; Chang, KC; Hyun, JS (2012). "The relaxation effect and mechanism of action of higenamine in the rat corpus cavernosum". International Journal of Impotence Research 24 (2): 77–83. doi:10.1038/ijir.2011.48. PMID 21956762. 
  7. ^ Bai, G; Yang, Y; Shi, Q; Liu, Z; Zhang, Q; Zhu, YY (2008). "Identification of higenamine in Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata as a beta2-adrenergic receptor agonist1". Acta pharmacologica Sinica 29 (10): 1187–94. doi:10.1111/j.1745-7254.2008.00859.x. PMID 18817623. 
  8. ^ a b Pyo, MK; Lee, DH; Kim, DH; Lee, JH; Moon, JC; Chang, KC; Yun-Choi, HS (2008). "Enantioselective synthesis of (R)-(+)- and (S)-(-)-higenamine and their analogues with effects on platelet aggregation and experimental animal model of disseminated intravascular coagulation". Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters 18 (14): 4110–4. doi:10.1016/j.bmcl.2008.05.094. PMID 18556200. 
  9. ^ Liu, W; Sato, Y; Hosoda, Y; Hirasawa, K; Hanai, H (2000). "Effects of higenamine on regulation of ion transport in guinea pig distal colon". Japanese journal of pharmacology 84 (3): 244–51. doi:10.1254/jjp.84.244. PMID 11138724. 
  10. ^ Wong, KK; Lo, CF; Chen, CM (1997). "Endothelium-dependent higenamine-induced aortic relaxation in isolated rat aorta". Planta medica 63 (2): 130–2. doi:10.1055/s-2006-957628. PMID 9140225. 
  11. ^ Ueki, T; Akaishi, T; Okumura, H; Morioka, T; Abe, K (2011). "Biphasic tracheal relaxation induced by higenamine and nantenine from Nandina domestica Thunberg". Journal of pharmacological sciences 115 (2): 254–7. doi:10.1254/jphs.10251sc. PMID 21282929. 
  12. ^ Lo, CF; Chen, CM (1997). "Acute toxicity of higenamine in mice". Planta medica 63 (1): 95–6. doi:10.1055/s-2006-957619. PMID 9063102. 
  13. ^ "Higenamine". WebMD.