Characterization of antidepressant-like effects of p-synephrine stereoisomers

by Kim KW, Kim HD, Jung JS, Woo RS, Kim HS, Suh HW, Kim YH, Song DK.
Department of Pharmacology,
Chonbuk National University Medical School,
Institute for Medical Sciences,
Chonchu, South Korea.
Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2001 Jul;364(1):21-6.


We previously reported that p-synephrine has antidepressant-like activity in the murine models of forced swimming and tail suspension. In the present study, we characterized antidepressant-like effects of p-synephrine stereoisomers in both in vivo and in vitro systems. In the tail suspension test, S-(+)-p-synephrine (3 mg/kg, p.o.) reduced the duration of immobility, while R-(-)-p-synephrine (0.3-3 mg/kg, p.o.) had no effect. S-(+)-p-synephrine (0.3, 1 and 3 mg/kg, p.o.) and R-(-)-p-synephrine (1 mg/ kg and 3 mg/kg, p.o.) significantly reversed the reserpine (2.5 mg/kg, i.p.)-induced hypothermia. S-(+)-p-synephrine was more effective than R-(-)-p-synephrine in inhibition of both [3H]noradrenaline uptake in rat cerebral cortical slices (maximal inhibition 85.7 +/- 7.8% vs. 59.8 +/- 4.3%; EC50 5.8 +/- 0.7 microM vs. 13.5 +/- 1.2 microM) and [3H]nisoxetine binding (Ki 4.5 +/- 0.5 microM vs. 8.2 +/- 0.7 microM). In contrast, R-(-)-p-synephrine was more effective than S-(+)-p-synephrine in stimulation of [3H]noradrenaline release from rat cerebral cortical slices (maximal stimulation 23.9 +/- 1.8% vs. 20.1 +/- 1.7%; EC50 8.2 +/- 0.6 microM vs. EC50 12.3 +/- 0.9 microM). The stimulatory effect of R-(-)-p-synephrine on [3H]noradrenaline release was inhibited by nisoxetine (100 nM), but tetrodotoxin (1 microM) and elimination of extracellular calcium had no effect. It is suggested that S-(+)-p-synephrine has more effective antidepressant-like activity than R-(-)-p-synephrine.