Distinct effects of carvone analogues on the isolated nerve of rats

Gonçalves JC, Alves Ade M, de Araújo AE, Cruz JS, Araújo DA
European Journal of Pharmacology, 2010


Carvone (p-mentha-6,8-dien-2-one) is a monoterpene ketone found as the main active component of various essential oils. It is obtained by distillation and occurs naturally as the enantiomers (+)- and (-)-carvone. Our group have shown that the in vivo antinociceptive activity of (-)-carvone is impaired with decreased nerve excitability. To better characterize the neuropharmacology of such a monoterpene, we investigated the profile of several carvone analogues to establish a structure-function relationship related to the compound action potential (CAP) inhibitory effect. We performed ex vivo assays to evaluate the effects of (+)- and (-)-carvone, carvacrol, (-)-carveol, and limonene on CAP characteristics using a modified single sucrose-gap method. Our results demonstrated that (-)-carvone was less potent (IC(50)=10.7+/-0.07 mM) in reducing nerve excitability than its enantiomer, (+)-carvone (IC(50)=8.7+/-0.1mM), although they shared a similar mode of action, since their effects were partially extinguished by nerve washing and also by reduction of depolarization velocity, probably as a result of voltage-gated sodium channel blockades. In a structure-activity relationship study, we demonstrated that hydroxyl groups in the (-)-carveol and carvacrol molecules enhanced the CAP blocking-effect, while the absence of oxygen moiety in (+)-limonene resulted in the effect being almost abolished. Therefore, inhibition of CAP conduction in peripheral nerves by monoterpenes could expand our understanding concerning the pharmacology of such natural bioactive compounds. Moreover, activation or inhibition of nerve excitability with these tested monoterpenes can be achieved by altering their chemical structures, and this can lead to further implications for target-directed drug design.


Gonçalves JC, Alves Ade M, de Araújo AE, et al. Distinct effects of carvone analogues on the isolated nerve of rats. Eur J Pharmacol. 2010;645(1-3):108-112.

[maxbutton id=”844″]