Arecoline, whose term in the official IUPAC nomenclature is: methyl 1-methyl-1,2,5,6-tetrahydropyridine-3-carboxylate, is a natural alkaloid and, chemically, a tertiary amine.
Arecoline has a brute or molecular formula: C8H13NO2 and is obtained from the Betel palm nuts (Areca catechu L., 1753).
Arecoline, at ordinary temperature and pressure, is an oily liquid, soluble in water, alcohol, and ether.
Arecoline is known to have central effects comparable to those of nicotine, with which it shares a high analogy of structure.
Arecoline has a predominant muscarinic action (such as pilocarpine), but it also acts at the level of nicotinic receptors.
This molecule causes a characteristic cortical excitation, similar to that produced by the electrical stimulation of the reticular formation in the brain stem, by activating the muscarinic M1 receptors.
Arecoline also stimulates the lacrimal, gastric, pancreatic and intestinal glands, and the mucous cells of the respiratory tract.
It is not degraded by cholinesterases.
By its agonist action on muscarinic receptors, arecoline has been studied as a possible therapy in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, as it seems to improve the cognitive abilities of the patient. Arecoline has an ester link that makes the molecule easily hydrolyzable, so the half-life is short, giving the molecule a pharmacological activity of limited duration. For this reason arecoline was a progenitor compound from which to start to obtain other molecules that possessed a greater and more useful pharmacological activity. The modification of the ester group has improved the pharmacological profile, allowing to obtain molecules that are currently under study such as talsaclidin, xanomelina, milameline.
Arecoline also possesses anthelmintic activity.
Warning: The information is not medical advice and may not be accurate. The contents are for illustrative purposes only and do not replace medical advice.