The pharmacology of novel acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, (±)-huprines Y and X, on the Torpedo electric organ

Esteve Ros, Jordi Aleu, Inmaculada Gómez de Aranda, Diego Muoz-Torrero, Pelayo Camps, Albert Badia, Jordi Marsal, Carles Solsona

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The effects of the tacrine-huperzine A hybrid acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, (±)-12-amino-3-chloro-9-methyl-6,7,10,11-tetrahydro-7, 11-methanocycloocta[b]quinoline hydrochloride ((±)-huprine Y) and (±)-12-amino-3-chloro-9-ethyl-6,7,10,11-tetrahydro-7, 11-methanocycloocta[b]quinoline hydrochloride ((±)-huprine X), were tested on spontaneous synaptic activity by measuring the amplitude, the rise time, the rate of rise, the half-width and the area or the electrical charge of the miniature endplate potentials ( recorded extracellularly on Torpedo electric organ fragments. (±)-Huprine Y and (±)-huprine X at a concentration of 500 nM increased all the m.e.p.p. variables analyzed. The effect of (±)-huprine Y was smaller than that of (±)-huprine X for all the variables except for the rate of rise where there was no significant difference. The effects of these drugs were also tested on nicotinic receptors by analyzing the currents elicited by acetylcholine (100 μM) in Xenopus laevis oocytes, transplanted with membranes from Torpedo electric organ. Both drugs inhibited the currents in a reversible manner, (±)-huprine Y (IC50=452 nM) being more effective than (±)-huprine X (IC50=4865 nM). The Hill coefficient was 0.5 for both drugs. The inhibition of the nicotinic receptor was voltage-dependent and decreased at depolarizing potentials, and there was no significant difference in the effects between (±)-huprine Y and (±)-huprine X at concentrations near to their IC50 values. At depolarizing potentials between -20 and +15 mV, these drugs did not have any detectable effect on the blockade of the nicotinic receptor. Both huprines increased the desensitization of the nicotinic receptors since the current closed quickly in the presence of the drugs, and there was no significant difference in this effect between (±)-huprine Y (500 nM) and (±)-huprine X (5 μM). We conclude that (±)-huprine Y and (±)-huprine X increase the level of acetylcholine in the synaptic cleft more effectively than tacrine. The interaction of (±)-huprine X with nicotinic receptors is weaker than that of (±)-huprine Y, suggesting that (±)-huprine X would be more specific to maintain the extracellular acetylcholine concentration. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2001


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cholinergic
  • Huperzine A
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • Tacrine
  • Xenopus oocyte


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