Structural relationships and vasorelaxant activity of monoterpenes

Lima TC, Mota MM, Barbosa-Filho JM, Viana Dos Santos MR, De Sousa DP
Daru, 2012


Background and purpose of the study

The hypotensive activity of the essential oil of Mentha x villosa and its main constituent, the monoterpene rotundifolone, have been reported. Therefore, our objective was to evaluate the vasorelaxant effect of monoterpenes found in medicinal plants and establish the structure-activity relationship of rotundifolone and its structural analogues on the rat superior mesenteric artery.


Contractions of the vessels were induced with 10 μM of phenylephine (Phe) in rings with endothelium. During the tonic phase of the contraction, the monoterpenes (10-8 – 10-3, cumulatively) were added to the organ bath. The extent of relaxation was expressed as the percentage of Phe-induced contraction.


The results from the present study showed that both oxygenated terpenes (rotundifolone, (+)-limonene epoxide, pulegone epoxide, carvone epoxide, and (+)-pulegone) and non-oxygenated terpene ((+)-limonene) exhibit relaxation activity. The absence of an oxygenated molecular structure was not a critical requirement for the molecule to be bioactive. Also it was found that the position of ketone and epoxide groups in the monoterpene structures influence the vasorelaxant potency and efficacy.

Major conclusion

The results suggest that the presence of functional groups in the chemical structure of rotundifolone is not essential for its vasorelaxant activity.


Lima TC, Mota MM, Barbosa-Filho JM, et al. Structural relationships and vasorelaxant activity of monoterpenes. Daru. 2016;20(1):23.

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