(-)-Carvone: antispasmodic effect and mode of action

Fitoterapia. 2013 Mar;85:20-4. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2012.10.012. Epub 2012 Oct 24.

Abstract

(-)-Carvone is a monoterpene ketone found in spearmint (Mentha spicata var. crispa) essential oil that is widely used as an odor and flavor additive. An intestinal antispasmodic effect was recently reported for (-)-carvone, and it has been shown to be more potent than its (+)-antipode. The mechanism of (-)-carvone action in the intestines has not been investigated. To gain a better understanding of the (-)-carvone antispasmodic effect, we investigated its pharmacological effects in the guinea pig ileum. Terminal portions of the ileum were mounted for isotonic contraction recordings. The effect of (-)-carvone was compared with that of the classical calcium channel blocker (CCB) verapamil. In isolated ileal smooth muscle, (-)-carvone did not produce direct contractile or relaxation responses and did not modify electrically elicited contractions or low K(+)-evoked contractions. The submaximal contractions induced by histamine (p<0.001), BaCl2 (p<0.05), and carbachol (p<0.01) were significantly reduced by (-)-carvone. The contractile response elicited by high concentrations of carbachol was reduced but not abolished by (-)-carvone. No additive action was detected with co-incubation of (-)-carvone and verapamil on carbachol-induced contraction. (-)-Carvone reduced the contraction induced by high K(+) and was almost 100 times more potent than verapamil. Thus, (-)-carvone showed a typical and potent CCB-like action. Many effects described for both (-)-carvone and spearmint oil can be explained as a CCB-like mode of action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Barium Compounds
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / analysis
  • Calcium Channels / drug effects*
  • Carbachol
  • Chlorides
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Histamine
  • Ileum / drug effects*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Mentha spicata / chemistry
  • Monoterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects*
  • Parasympatholytics / pharmacology*
  • Potassium Channels / drug effects*
  • Potassium Chloride
  • Verapamil

Substances

  • Barium Compounds
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Calcium Channels
  • Chlorides
  • Cyclohexane Monoterpenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Parasympatholytics
  • Potassium Channels
  • barium chloride
  • Potassium Chloride
  • carvone
  • Histamine
  • Carbachol
  • Verapamil