Tetrandrine: a novel calcium channel antagonist inhibits type I calcium channels in neuroblastoma cells

Neuropharmacology. 1991 Dec;30(12A):1325-31. doi: 10.1016/0028-3908(91)90030-f.


Tetrandrine, an alkaloid isolated from the Chinese herb, Radix stephaniae tetrandrae, has been used clinically as a hypotensive agent for a long time. Recently, several studies have demonstrated that tetrandrine behaves like a calcium entry blocker. In the present investigation, the whole cell version of the patch clamp technique was used to study the effect of tetrandrine on the type I (transient inward) calcium current in neuroblastoma cells. These results showed that tetrandrine inhibited the transient inward current, without affecting the channel kinetics. The effects of tetrandrine were dose-dependent and reversible but did not depend on the frequency of stimulation (use-dependence) or the membrane potential. These data clearly demonstrate that tetrandrine is a novel and potent antagonist of the transient inward current in neuroblastoma cells.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Barium / metabolism
  • Benzylisoquinolines*
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Flunarizine / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Potentials / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Neuroblastoma / metabolism*
  • Nifedipine / pharmacology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzylisoquinolines
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Barium
  • tetrandrine
  • Nifedipine
  • Flunarizine