Himatanthus lancifolius, popularly known as "agoniada" in Brazil, is largely used in folk medicine against asthma, dysmenorrhea and as an emenagogue and abortive. This study reveals the effects of an alkaloid rich fraction (AlkF) obtained from the bark of Himatanthus lancifolius in vascular and non-vascular smooth muscle responsiveness. Incubation of AlkF (3-30 μg/ml) during 15 min generates a concentration-related and fully reversible reduction in maximal contractile responses evoked by acetylcholine and phenylephrine in rat jejune and aorta preparations, respectively. Exposition of endothelium-denuded pre-contracted rat aorta rings to AlkF results in a complete relaxation, with EC 50 of 22.2 (16.2-28.2 μg/ml). AlkF is also able to induce a concentration-related rightward shift of cumulative concentration curves for calcium in uterus and aorta rings maintained in depolarizing nutritive solution. Moreover, addition of AlkF in calcium-free solution also reduces, in a concentration-dependent manner, the ability of caffeine and phenylephrine to contract aorta rings. This study reveals that the bark of Himatanthus lancifolius possesses one or more indole alkaloids able to alter non-vascular and vascular smooth muscle responsiveness, an event that may involve the blocking of calcium entry or changes on intracellular calcium utilization or mobilization.
- Himatanthus lancifolius
- Smooth muscle