Indexed on: 21 Feb '06Published on: 21 Feb '06Published in: Neurotoxicology and Teratology
Anabasine occurring in wild tree tobacco (Nicotiana glauca) and anabaseine occurring in certain animal venoms are nicotinic receptor agonist toxins. Anabasine lacks the imine double bond of anabaseine; the two possible enantiomers of anabasine occur in N. glauca. A comparision of the relative potencies of S- and R-anabasine has not been previously reported. We separated the enantiomers of anabasine by reaction of the racemic N. glauca natural product with 9-fluorenylmethoxycarbonyl-L-alanine (Fmoc-L-Ala-OH) to give diastereomers, which were separated by preparative reversed phase HPLC. The S- and R-anabasine enantiomer fractions were then obtained by Edman degradation. A mouse bioassay was used to determine the relative lethalities of S- and R-enriched anabasine enantiomers. The intravenous LD50 of the (+)-R-anabasine rich fraction was 11 +/- 1.0 mg/kg and that of the (-)-S-anabasine-rich fraction was 16 +/- 1.0 mg/kg. The LD50 of anabaseine was 0.58 +/- 0.05 mg/kg. Anabaseine was significantly more toxic in the mouse bioassay than S-anabasine (27-fold) and R-anabasine (18-fold). The relative agonistic potencies of these three alkaloids on human fetal nicotinic neuromuscular receptors were of the same rank order: anabaseine>R-anabasine>S-anabasine.