Isorhynchophylline: A plant alkaloid with therapeutic potential for cardiovascular and central nervous system diseases

Fitoterapia. 2012 Jun;83(4):617-26. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2012.02.010. Epub 2012 Mar 2.


Uncaria species (Gouteng in Chinese) have been used as a plant medicine to treat ailments of cardiovascular and central nervous systems. As the main alkaloid constituent of Uncaria species, isorhynchophylline has drawn extensive attention toward antihypertensive and neuroprotective activities in recent years. Isorhynchophylline mainly acts on cardiovascular and central nervous systems diseases including hypertension, brachycardia, arrhythmia, and sedation, vascular dementia, and amnesia. Isorhynchophylline also has effects on anticoagulation, inhibition vascular smooth muscle cell apoptosis and proliferation, anti-multidrug resistant of lung cells, anti-endotoxemic, and antispasmodic. The active mechanisms are related to modulation on calcium ion channel, protection neural and neuroglial cells against β-amyloid(25-35)-induced neurotoxicity and via inducing autophagy. As a candidate drug of several cardiovascular and central nervous systems diseases, isorhynchophylline will attract scientists to pursue the potential related pharmacological effects and its mechanism with new technologies. But relatively few clinical application of isorhynchophylline has been conducted on its pharmacological activities. It requires more in vivo validations and further investigations of antihypertensive and neuroprotective mechanisms of isorhynchophylline.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Agents / pharmacology
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Indole Alkaloids / pharmacology
  • Indole Alkaloids / therapeutic use*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Oxindoles
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Uncaria / chemistry*


  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Indole Alkaloids
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Oxindoles
  • Plant Extracts
  • rhyncophylline