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Vinca Alkaloids

Chemical compounds are part of our everyday life in different manner. Some common chemical compounds are baking soda, washing soda, bleach, table salt, tartaric acid, citric acid etc. We can observe these compounds in your surroundings. Even many chemical compounds are found in plants, fruits etc. 

If we classify chemical compounds on the basis of their origin, they are mainly two types; inorganic and organic compounds. Inorganic compounds are originated from minerals whereas organic compounds are mainly originated from plants or animals. On the basis of structure, chemical compounds can be different types such as aliphatic, aromatic, heterocyclic compound. Aliphatic compounds are basically hydrocarbons composed of carbon and hydrogen with single or multiple chemical bonds between carbon atoms.

Aromatic compounds can be characterized with their conjugated cyclic system. This cyclic system provides stability to molecule. If the cyclic system is composed of carbon, hydrogen and some heteroatom such as nitrogen, sulfur or oxygen, such compounds are called as heterocyclic compounds. 

Alkaloids are plant originated nitrogenous compounds. They play a vital role in pharmaceutical industries as medicines and drugs. These nitrogenous organic compounds are mainly plant originated and have pronounced effects on physiological actions on humans. Many drugs such as morphine, quinine and poisons, atropine, strychnine are good examples of alkaloids. These organic compounds mainly have nitrogen as part of molecular structure, bonded with carbon atoms. They are mainly cyclic compounds with at least one nitrogen atom. Although the name suggested their alkaline nature, yet they are not always alkaline in their behavior. They are formed in almost all living organism but mainly isolated from plants. We know a large number of alkaloids whose even function and structure are not yet clear. They are major ingredient of pharmaceutical industries.  

Alkaloids      Role
 Ajmalicine (Raubasine)  A cerebrocirculant, smooth muscle relaxer, antiaggregant, anti-adrenergic, sedative, anticonvulsant
 Corynantheidine  An opioid antagonist
 Corynoxeine A calcium channel blocker
 Corynoxine A and B Dopamine mediating anti-locomotives
 EpicatechinAn antioxidant, Antibacterial, antiaggregant. alpha-amylase inhibitor. Antiperoxidant. Antihepatitic. Antidiabetic, Anti-leukemic, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antiviral, cancer preventative
 9-Hydroxycorynantheidine A partial opioid agonist
 7-Hydroxymitragynine An analgesic, antidiarrheal, antitussive
 Isomitraphylline An immunostimulant, anti-leukemic
 Isopteropodine An immunostimulant
 Mitragynine An analgesic, adrenergic, antitussive, Antidiarrheal, antimalarial
 Mitraphylline Vasodilator, muscle relaxer, antihypertensive, anti-amnesic, diuretic
 Paynantheine Smooth muscle relaxer
 Rhynchophylline Vasodilator, antiaggregant, calcium channel blocker, anti-inflammatory, anti-arrhythmic, antihypertensive, antipyretic, antithelmintic
 Speciociliatine Weaker opioid agonist
 Speciogynine  Smooth muscle relaxer
 Speciophylline Anti-leukemic
 Tetrahydroalstonine  Hypoglycemic


Vinca Alkaloids Definition

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Vinca alkaloid is a class of organic compounds composed of Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Oxygen. They are derived from plants and are named alkaloid. They have physiological effects that make them useful for medicines manufacture. These alkaloids are subset of drugs which are obtained from the Madagascar periwinkle plant and have hypoglycemic as well as cytotoxic effects. These alkaloids are mainly used to treat diabetes and high blood pressure. Vinca alkaloids are used also as disinfectants. The most common vinca alkaloids are Vinblastine (VBL), vinorelbine (VRL), vincristine (VCR) and vindesine (VDS). Vinca alkaloids are one of the most effective cancer drugs and will use for cancer therapies. 

Vinca Alkaloids Examples

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Vinca alkaloids are structurally related to Vinca rosea.  Vinorelbine is a semi synthetic alkaloid, although they have many differences in their clinical uses and toxicity. Four most common examples of Vinca alkaloids are listed below.

 Alkaloids Details 
Vinca Alkaloids   Other name Vincaleukoblastine 
 CLASS  Antimicrotubule
 ADMINISTRATION  Intravenous, A mitotic inhibitor
 Vinorelbine  FORUMLA  C45H54N4O8
 CLASS  Mitotic inhibitor
 ADMINISTRATION  Intravenous and (rarely) oral
 Other name  Navelbine
 Vincristine  Other name  Leurocristine, Oncovin
 CLASS Mitotic inhibitor
 ADMINISTRATION Intravenous, A mitotic inhibitor
 Vindesine FORUMLA C43H55N5O7
 CLASS Mitotic inhibitor

Vinca Alkaloids Mechanism of Action

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The action mechanism of Vinca alkaloids is shown below.

Vinca Alkaloids Mechanism

The cytotoxicity of these alkaloids is due to their interactions with tubulin and disruption of microtubule function. They are also involved in many biochemical activities. These alkaloids connect to binding sites on tubulin and separate from those of the taxanes, podophyllotoxin, guanosine-5’-triphosphate and colchicines. This binding is very rapid and reversible.

Vinca Alkaloids Side Effects

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Some common side effects of Vinca alkaloids are listed below.
  • Excess exposures can cause dizziness, lightheadedness and faintness.
  • Pain during urination.
  • Trouble with bladder control.
  • Severe muscle and bone pain.
  • Severe stomach pain, constipation and blurred vision.
  • Redness, pain and swelling.
  • Unexplained fever, chills, and sore throat
  • Unusual bleeding and bruising.
  • Bloody urine, bowel movement and vomit.
  • Hair loss, mild numbness and tingling in feet 

How do Vinca Alkaloids Work?

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Vinca alkaloids are vincristine (Oncovin), vinblastine (Velban), and vinorelbine (Navelbine). Vinca alkaloids reduce the blood cell counts and can cause anemia or bleeding that may increase in the presence of other chemotherapy drugs. These alkaloids are part of combination chemotherapy for medicinal therapies. 
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