Psychopharmacology

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 269–270

Cathinone, an alkaloid from khat leaves with an amphetamine-like releasing effect

  • Peter Kalix
Original Investigations

Abstract

Khat leaves, widely used as a stimulant in East Africa and the Arab Peninsula, contain the alkaloid (-)-cathinone. The effects of this substance on the efflux of radioactivity from rabbit striatal slices prelabelled with 3H-dopamine were examined. It was found that low concentrations of (-)cathinone enhance the release of radioactivity in a dose-dependent manner, and that (-)cathinone was capable of sustaining the enhanced release induced by (+)amphetamine. Pretreatment of the tissue with cocaine, which is known to prevent the induction of release by (+)amphetamine, inhibited the efflux increase caused by (-)-cathinone. These observations suggest that amphetamine and the active principle of khat leaves have an analogous mechanism of action.

Key words

Cathinone Amphetamine Dopamine release 

References

  1. Groves PM, Rebec GV (1976) Biochemistry and behavior: Some central actions of amphetamine and antipsychotic drugs. Annu Rev Psychol 27:91–127Google Scholar
  2. Halbach H (1972) Medical aspects of the chewing of khat leaves. Bull WHO 47:21–29Google Scholar
  3. Heikkila R, Orlansky H, Cohen G (1975a) Studies on the distinction between uptake inhibition and release of 3H-dopamine in rat brain tissue slices. Biochem Pharmacol 24:847–852Google Scholar
  4. Heikkila R, Orlansky H, Mytilineou C, Cohen G (1975b) Amphetamine, evaluation of d- and l-isomers as releasing agents and uptake inhibitors for 3H-dopamine and 3H-norepinephrine in slices of rat neostriatum and cerebral cortex. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 194:47–56Google Scholar
  5. Kalix P (1980a) Hypermotility of the amphetamine type induced by a constituent of khat leaves. Br J Pharmacol 68:11–13Google Scholar
  6. Kalix P (1980b) Hyperthermic response to (-)cathinone, an alkaloid of Catha edulis (khat). J Pharm Pharmacol 32:662–663Google Scholar
  7. Nowycky M, Scaragli G, Cooper J, Roth R (1975) Effect of collagenase on the release of dopamine and acetylcholine from slices of rat corpus striatum. J Neurochem 24:1979–1981Google Scholar
  8. United Nations Document (1975) Etudes sur la composition chimique du khat, recherches sur la fraction phénylakylamine. UN document MNAR/11Google Scholar
  9. WHO (1964) Expert Committee on Addiction-Producing Drugs, Thirteenth report. WHO Tech Rep Ser 273:10Google Scholar
  10. Zelger J, Carlini E (1980) Anorexigenic effects of two amines obtained from Catha edulis Forsk. (khat) in rats. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 12:701–705Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Kalix
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de PharmacologieCentre Médical UniversitaireGenèveSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations