Possible mechanisms of dose-dependent cough suppressive effect of Althaea officinalis rhamnogalacturonan in guinea pigs test system

Int J Biol Macromol. 2009 Jul 1;45(1):27-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2009.03.008. Epub 2009 Apr 2.


The rhamnogalacturonan, isolated from the roots of medicinal plant Althaea officinalis L., showed various biological effects on the citric acid-induced cough reflex and reactivity of airways smooth muscle in vitro and in vivo conditions. It possessed dose-dependent cough suppression effect comparable with opioid agonist codeine. However, reactivity of the airways smooth muscle, measured in vitro as well as in vivo conditions was not significantly affected by rhamnogalacturonan and thus bronchodilatory activity did not participate in the cough suppression effect of polysaccharide tested. Moreover, the cough suppression effect of the polymer was not significantly modified by pretreatment of K(+)(ATP) ion channels with selective antagonist and therefore activation of this type of ion channels is not involved in the mechanism of rhamnogalacturonan cough suppressive ability. On the contrary, pretreatment of animals with selective 5-HT(2) receptors antagonist significantly decreased rhamnogalacturonan antitussive efficacy. From this point of view it seems that the cough suppression effect of the polymer is associated with the serotonergic 5-HT(2) receptor's function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Althaea / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Antitussive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / drug effects
  • Pectins / isolation & purification*
  • Pectins / pharmacology*


  • Antitussive Agents
  • Pectins