Phenylethylamine Alkaloids

Phenylethylamine Alkaloids

In recent years, a large number of phenethylamines and hydroxyphenethylamines have been found in plants. These compounds are organic amines, which can form salts with acids and therefore belong to the category of alkaloids. Structurally, catecholamine compounds, such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and other physiologically active substances also belong to the phenylethylamine alkaloids. Phenylethylamine alkaloids are highly abundant in many plants, and researchers have successfully isolated large amounts of phenylethylamine alkaloids from Lithospermum, Leguminosae, Liliaceae and Rutaceae.

Phenylethylamine AlkaloidsFigure 1. The basic structure of the phenylethylamine nucleus in phenylethylamine alkaloids.

Bioactivities of phenylethylamine alkaloids

Phenylethylamine alkaloids have been found to have strong biological activities, such as the ability to constrict blood vessels in the cardiovascular system, protection against X-ray radiation, etc.

  • Constriction of blood vessels

Epinephrine is present in the body as a hormone, and norepinephrine is the transmitter that enables the release of epinephrine at nerve endings. Dopamine is a biosynthetic precursor of norepinephrine and a transmitter for certain pathways in the central nervous system. These phenylethylamine alkaloids exert a vasoconstrictive effect and are thus used clinically as agents to prevent and treat hypotension.

  • Radiation protection

Researchers have found that phenylethylamine alkaloids are protective against X-ray radiation. Among them, phenylethylamine hydrochloride, tyramine hydrochloride, dopamine hydrochloride, norepinephrine hydrochloride, and epinephrine hydrochloride have strong radioprotective effects.

  • Others

Phenylethylamine alkaloids have a number of other biological activities. For example, hordenine is a diuretic, inhibits penicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in vitro, and is effective in mice infected with staphylococci as a diarrhea and dysentery drug. Tests for urinary catecholamines and their metabolites have been used routinely for the diagnosis and monitoring of hypertension in pheochromocytoma.

Common phenylethylamine alkaloids

Hordenine and syfinerine are the two most common phenylethylamine alkaloids. Their source and function are described below.

  • Hordenine

Hordenine was the first reported alkaloids isolated from marine algae. It is a phenethylamine-type alkaloid which means it has a chemical structure similar to compounds like dopamine and norepinephrine. Hordenine has many benefits, such as improving cognitive abilities such as memory, focus, attention span and logical reasoning. It has also been shown to improve physical endurance by helping the body to convert food into energy more efficiently. It has even been suggested that hordenine may help improve mood by increasing serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain.

Phenylethylamine AlkaloidsFigure 2. The structure of hordenine.

  • Synephrine

Synephrine is an phenylethylamine alkaloid, occurring naturally in some plants and animals, and also in approved drugs products as its m-substituted analog known as neo-synephrine. The alkaloid is sometimes used as a weight-loss-promoting dietary supplement for oral consumption and sometimes as a synthetic drug to affect the sympathetic nervous system.

Phenylethylamine AlkaloidsFigure 3. The structure of synephrine.

What we offer

As a supplier of alkaloids, Alfa Chemistry has always shown great interest in the latest developments in phenylethylamine alkaloids. Alfa Chemistry is committed to providing a wide range of phenylethylamine alkaloids. If you do not find what you need, please contact us. We also offer product customization according to customer's detailed requirements.

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