In addition to toxic and repellent properties, lupin alkaloids have a number of pharmacological activities.15,47,52
Sparteine, lupanine, and other QA exhibit antiarrhythmic properties. Since only sparteine can be isolated easily from broom (Cytisus scoparius) it is the only lupin alkaloid that is commercially available and exploited in medicine as an antiarrhythmic drug. However, about 10% of all patients are unable to metabolize sparteine and suffer from sparteine intoxication. Because of these side effects and the availability of more reliable synthetic heart drugs, the use of sparteine in modern medicine is declining and restricted. The utilization of sparteine as a uterus contracting drug has been abandoned for the same reasons. Sparteine, lupanine and 13-hydroxylupanine have hypotensive and CNS-depressant properties and furthermore, are hypoglycemic and, thus, might be interesting antidiabetic drugs. In addition to QA, the alkaloid-free fraction of L. albus seeds seems to have antidiabetic activities. Matrine and cytisine are amoebicidal; matrine and 17-oxolupanine are effective inflammatory compounds. Some of these pharmacological properties can be explained through activation of the acetylcholine receptors and inhibition of K+ and Na+ -channels.48,52
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