Neferine exerts its antithrombotic effect by inhibiting platelet aggregation and promoting dissociation of platelet aggregates

Thromb Res. 2013 Aug;132(2):202-10. doi: 10.1016/j.thromres.2013.05.018. Epub 2013 Jun 14.


Introduction: Neferine, a kind of isoquinoline alkaloid, extracted from the seed embryo of Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn, has long been recognized in traditional medicine as a medicinal plant with various usages. Neferine has many biological activities, including anti-hypertensive, anti-arrhythmic, negative inotropic effect and relaxation on vascular smooth muscle. Although previous studies have reported its antithrombotic effect, the mechanisms by which it exerts antithrombotic effect have not been thoroughly studied.

Method: Washed mice platelets and mice platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) were used to investigate the effects of neferine on platelet aggregation, secretion induced by various agonists and dissociation of agonist-formed platelet aggregates. Bioflux plates coated with collagen were used to investigate the effect of neferine on platelet adhesion and thrombosis in vitro. With collagen-epinephrine-induced acute pulmonary thrombus formation mouse model, the effect of neferine on thrombosis in vivo was also examined.

Results: Neferine, significantly and dose-dependently, inhibited collagen-, thrombin-, U46619-induced platelet aggregation in mice washed platelets, or ADP-induced platelet aggregation in PRP. Neferine treatment decreased platelet dense granule secretion initiated by collagen, thrombin and U46619. Also, Neferine dramatically and dose-dependently promoted the dissociation of platelet aggregates pre-formed by various agonists including collagen, thrombin, U46619 or ADP. Neferine can significantly reduce the area of mice platelets adhesion to the collagen and inhibit thrombosis in vitro. In collagen-epinephrine-induced acute pulmonary thrombus mouse model, neferine, at 6 mg/kg, significantly attenuated thrombus formation.

Conclusions: Neferine remarkably prevents thrombus formation by inhibiting platelet activation, adhesion and aggregation, as well as promoting disassembly of pre-formed platelet aggregates. The inhibitory effects of neferine on platelet activation might be relevant in cases involving aberrant platelet activation where neferine could be used as an anti-platelet and antithrombotic agent.

Keywords: 9,11-Dideoxy -9a,11a -methanoepoxy prostaglandin F2a; ADP; ATP; Adhesion; DMSO; EDTA; HPLC; Nef; Neferine; PGE1; PPP; PRP; Platelet aggregation; Platelet disaggregation; Prostaglandin E1; Thrombosis; TxA2; U46619; adenosine diphosphate; adenosine triphosphate; dimethyl sulfoxide; ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid; high performance liquid chromatography; platelet-poor plasma; platelet-rich plasma; thromboxane A2; vWF; von Willebrand factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzylisoquinolines / pharmacology*
  • Blood Platelets / drug effects*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Platelet Adhesiveness / drug effects
  • Platelet Aggregation / drug effects*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Thrombosis / blood
  • Thrombosis / pathology
  • Thrombosis / prevention & control


  • Benzylisoquinolines
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • neferine