Original Article

Addictive evaluation of cholic acid-verticinone ester, a potential cough therapeutic agent with agonist action of opioid receptor

Authors: Jiu-liang Zhang, Hui Wang, Chang Chen, Hui-fang Pi, Han-li Raun, Peng Zhang, Ji-zhou Wu
DOI: 10.1038/aps.2009.43


Aim: The purpose of this work was to search for potential drugs with potent antitussive and expectorant activities as well as a low toxicity, but without addictive properties. Cholic acid-verticinone ester (CA-Ver) was synthesized based on the clearly elucidated antitussive and expectorant activities of verticinone in bulbs of Fritillaria and different bile acids in Snake Bile. In our previous study, CA-Ver showed a much more potent activity than codeine phosphate. This study was carried out to investigate the central antitussive mechanism and the addictive evaluation of CA-Ver.
Methods: Testing on a capsaicin-induced cough model of mice pretreated with naloxone, a non-selective opioid receptor antagonist, was performed for the observation of CA-Ver's central antitussive mechanism. We then took naloxone-induced withdrawal tests of mice for the judgment of CA-Ver's addiction. Lastly, we determined the opioid dependence of CA-Ver in the guinea pig ileum.
Results: The test on the capsaicin-induced cough model showed that naloxone could block the antitussive effect of CA-Ver, suggesting the antitussive mechanism of CA-Ver was related to the central opioid receptors. The naloxone-urged withdrawal tests of the mice showed that CA-Ver was not addictive, and the test of the opioid dependence in the guinea pig ileum showed that CA-Ver had no withdrawal response.
Conclusion: These findings suggested that CA-Ver deserved attention for its potent antitussive effects related to the central opioid receptors, but without addiction, and had a good development perspective.

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