Planta Med 2018; 84(02): 83-90
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-118178
Biological and Pharmacological Activity
Original Papers
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Nuciferine Relaxes Tracheal Rings via the Blockade of VDLCC and NSCC Channels

Xiao Yang, *, Meng-Fei Yu, *, Jun Lei, *, Yong-Bo Peng, Ping Zhao, Lu Xue, Weiwei Chen, Li-Qun Ma, Qing-Hua Liu, Jinhua Shen
  • Institute for Medical Biology and Hubei Provincial Key Laboratory for Protection and Application of Special Plant Germplasm in Wuling Area of China, College of Life Sciences, South-Central University for Nationalities, Wuhan, China
Further Information

Publication History

received 09 March 2017
revised 26 July 2017

accepted 03 August 2017

Publication Date:
17 August 2017 (eFirst)


This study aimed to elucidate the mechanisms of nuciferine (a main aporphine alkaloid of lotus leaf extract), which can induce relaxation in contracted tracheal rings. Under Ca2+-free and 2 mM Ca2+ conditions, we found that nuciferine had no effect on the resting muscle tone of tracheal rings. In contrast, nuciferine relaxed high K+-contracted mouse tracheal rings in a dose-dependent manner and inhibited both Ca2+ influx and voltage-dependent L-type Ca2+ channel currents induced by high K+. Similarly, nuciferine also inhibited acetylcholine-induced contractions in mouse tracheal rings in a dose-dependent manner. Meanwhile, both acetylcholine-induced intracellular Ca2+ influx and whole-cell currents of nonselective cation channels were blocked by nuciferine. Together, the results indicate that nuciferine-induced relaxation in tracheal rings mainly occurred due to the inhibition of extracellular Ca2+ influx through the blockade of voltage-dependent L-type Ca2+ channels and/or nonselective cation channels. These results suggest that nuciferine has a therapeutic effect on respiratory diseases associated with the aberrant contraction of airway smooth muscles and/or bronchospasm.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.