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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Full Pharmacodynamics / Mechanism of Action Overview of "ICARIIN"

Another compilation. This time I aim to effectively outline the many mechanisms of action for "Icariin" and this includes the more obscure pathways. Icariin is well-defined as a "natural PDE-5" inhibitor - but it actually affects vascular function by other pathways as well.

Icariin is a compound isolated from the plant "Epimedium" also known more commonly as "Horny Goat Weed" - it has been shown to have neuroprotective effects, anti-depressant effects and erectogenic effects. It may help treat Alzheimer's and other memory disorders and can effectively treat high blood pressure.


PDE-5 Inhibition / cGMP Synthesis / nNOS Acitvator


Icariin decreases the "expression" of PDE-5 enzymes over time, this means that there is a long-term decrease yielding permanent changes in genetic coding to this enzyme. As opposed to just temporarily blocking it, which it also does. 

NOTE :: By this mechanism one could presume (though it has lower affinity than Say, Viagra) that it may give one more leverage over time as well as a permanent enhancing effect. Many people ask then, how long before Icariin supplements kick in or how long do they take to work?

ANSWER :: Based on the studies, it would seem plausible that minor effects would be felt in the first couple days (due to inhibition of PDE-5), but the peak effects would come after any where from 2-4 weeks of use(due to downregulation).

To further investigate the mechanisms of action of icariin (ICA), we assessed the effects of ICA on the in vitro formation of cGMP and cAMP in isolated rabbit corpus cavernosum. Isolated segments of rabbit corpus cavernosum were exposed to increasing concentrations of ICA and the dose-dependent accumulation of cGMP and cAMP was determined in the tissues samples by means of 125I radioimmunoassay. Responses of the isolated tissues preparations to ICA were compared with those obtained with the reference compounds sildenafil (Sild). Furthermore, the effects of ICA on the mRNA expression of specific cGMP-binding phosphodiesterase type V (PDE5) in rat penis were also observed. After incubation with ICA for 6 h or 14 h respectively, the levels of PDE5 mRNA were examined by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). The results showed that ICA increased cGMP concentrations directly (P < 0.05), but there was no significant effect on cAMP concentrations (P > 0.05). In the presence of sodium nitroprusside (SNP), a stimulatory agent of cGMP, both ICA and Sild increased cGMP concentrations with increasing dose (P < 0.01). Their EC50 was 4.62 (ICA) and 0.42 (Sild) micromol/L respectively. Under the same condition, ICA and Sild unaltered cAMP level significantly (P > 0.05). There were PDE5A1 and PDE5A2 mRNA expressions in rat corpus cavernosum with PDE5A2 being the dominant isoform. ICA could obviously inhibit these two isoforms mRNA expression in rat penis, and decrease PDE5A1 more pronouncedly (P < 0.01). The present study indicated that the aphrodisiac mechanisms of icariin involved the NO-cGMP signal transduction pathway, with increasing cGMP levels in the corpus cavernosum smooth muscle. The inhibitory effect of icariin on PDE5 mRNA expression, especially on PDE5A1, might account for its molecular mechanisms for its long-term activity.

J Nat Prod. 2008 Sep;71(9):1513-7. doi: 10.1021/np800049y. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

Potent inhibition of human phosphodiesterase-5 by icariin derivatives.

Dell'Agli M1, Galli GV, Dal Cero E, Belluti F, Matera R, Zironi E, Pagliuca G, Bosisio E.


Plant extracts traditionally used for male impotence (Tribulus terrestris, Ferula hermonis, Epimedium brevicornum, Cinnamomum cassia), and the individual compounds cinnamaldehyde, ferutinin, and icariin, were screened against phosphodiesterase-5A1 (PDE5A1) activity. Human recombinant PDE5A1 was used as the enzyme source. Only E. brevicornum extract (80% inhibition at 50 microg/mL) and its active principle icariin (1) (IC50 5.9 microM) were active. To improve its inhibitory activity, 1 was subjected to various structural modifications. Thus, 3,7-bis(2-hydroxyethyl)icaritin (5), where both sugars in 1 were replaced with hydroxyethyl residues, potently inhibited PDE5A1 with an IC50 very close to that of sildenafil (IC50 75 vs 74 nM). Thus, 5 was 80 times more potent than 1, and its selectivity versus phosphodiesterase-6 (PDE6) and cyclic adenosine monophosphate-phosphodiesterase (cAMP-PDE) was much higher in comparison with sildenafil. The improved pharmacodynamic profile and lack of cytotoxicity on human fibroblasts make compound 5 a promising candidate for further development.

PMID: 18778098 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


OBJECTIVES: To investigate the effect of icariin on the cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-hydrolytic activity of phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) isoforms and the cGMP levels in cavernous smooth muscle cells treated with sodium nitroprusside (SNP).

METHODS: PDE5 isoforms (PDE5A1, A2, and A3) were isolated from sf9 insect cells infected with baculoviruses carrying PDE5 isoform cDNA. Icariin was isolated from Epimedii herba. Varying amounts (10(-6) to 10(-11) M) of icariin or zaprinast were added to reaction mixtures containing PDE5 isoforms and cGMP. The inhibitory effects of icariin and zaprinast were analyzed by GraphPad Software and are expressed as concentration that inhibits 50% (IC50) values. Cavernous smooth muscle cells were isolated from 3-month-old rats, treated with icariin (100 and 200 microM) or zaprinast (200 microM) for 15 minutes, and then with 10 microM SNP for 30, 60, 120, 240, and 360 minutes. The cells were then analyzed for the cGMP concentration using an enzyme immunoassay system.

RESULTS: Icariin inhibited PDE5A1, A2, and A3 with an IC50 value of 1.0, 0.75, and 1.1 microM, respectively. The corresponding IC50 values for zaprinast were 0.33, 0.23, and 0.32 microM. Icariin consistently outperformed the control (SNP-only treatment) in maintaining greater cGMP levels, particularly at the greater concentration of 200 microM. In contrast, zaprinast at 200 microM did better than the control only at 60 and 360 minutes. CONCLUSIONS: Icariin was inhibitory to all three PDE5 isoforms with similar IC50 values, which were approximately three times greater than those for zaprinast. Icariin was able to enhance cGMP levels in SNP-treated cavernous smooth muscle cells.

PMID: 17169663 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

                                                        MECHANISM #2 
                                  Calcium Channel Regulator

Icariin appears to be able to inhibit inward calcium currents and protect against excitotoxicity (namely Glutamate) by this mechanism. Thus, it can be seen as a type of Ca2+ modulator.

Calcium Channels normally act to excite the nervous system and increase levels of glutamate, acetylcholine and norepinephrine.


Overload of intracellular calcium caused by amyloid-beta peptide has been implicated in the pathogenesis of neuronal damage in Alzheimer's disease. Voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) provide one of the major sources of Ca(2+) entry into cells. Here, we investigated whether icariin had effect on the changes of calcium currents induced by Abeta(25-35) in hippocampal pyramidal neurons. Using whole-cell patch-clamp, we showed that Abeta(25-35) enhanced the inward Ba(2+) and Ca(2+) currents. The currents were partially inhibited by Ni(2+) and completely suppressed by Cd(2+), indicating that Abeta(25-35) disrupts intracellular calcium homeostasis via the modulation of both L- and T-type channels. Furthermore, Icariin nearly complete suppressed the abnormal inward calcium currents induced by Abeta(25-35) in a dose-dependant manner. Our findings suggest that the potential neuroprotective effect of icariin on Abeta(25-35)-induced neurotoxicity via the balance intracelluar calcium homeostasis.

PMID: 20128049 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


"Testosterone Mimetic"

Abstract AIM: To evaluate the testosterone mimetic properties of Icariin.

METHODS: Forty-eight healthy male Sprague-Dawley rats at the age of 15 months were randomly divided into four groups with 12 rats each: the control group (C), the model group (M), the icariin group (ICA) and the testosterone group (T). The reproductive system was damaged by cyclophosphamide (intraperitoneal injection, 20 mg/kg x day) for 5 consecutive days for groups M, ICA and T, at the sixth day, ICA (gastric gavage, 200 mg/kg x day) for the ICA group and sterandryl (subcutaneous injection, 5 mg/rat . day) for the T group for 7 consecutive days, respectively. The levels of serum testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), serum bone Gla-protein (BGP) and tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activity in serum (StrACP) were determined. The histological changes of the testis and the penis were observed by microscope with hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase biotin-dUTP-X nick end labeling (TUNEL), respectively. RESULTS: (1) Icariin improved the condition of reproductive organs and increased the circulating levels of testosterone. (2) Icariin treatment also improved the steady-state serum BGP and might have promoted bone formation. At the same time, it decreased the serum levels of StrACP and might have reduced the bone resorption. (3) Icarrin suppressed the extent of apoptosis of penile cavernosal smooth muscle cells.

CONCLUSION: Icariin has testosterone mimetic properties and has therapeutic potential in the management of hypoandrogenism.

PMID: 16751992 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


"AChE Inhibitor" (Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitor)

Icariin may increase levels of acetylcholine by blocking the enzyme that breaks it down.

Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors are mainly used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The inhibitory effect of icariin on the activity of AChE was investigated by inhibition kinetics. The binding interaction and binding sites between icariin and AChE were also studied by using fluorimetry and molecular docking, respectively. The results showed that icariin could potently inhibit the activity of AChE, the IC50 value was determined to be 3.50 x 10(-8) mol x L(-1), and the determined IC50 value to tacrine was 0.75 x 10(-8) mol x L(-1). Kinetic analyses showed that icariin is a reversible and mixed type AChE inhibitor. The inhibition constants K1 and K(IS) were determined to be 2.67 x 10(-8) and 4.43 x 10(-8) mol x L(-1), respectively. Icariin binds selectively to the AChE peripheral anionic site via hydrogen bonds and Van der Waals forces.

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1 comment:

  1. Icariin is a miracle compound for older guys like me, who see more side-effects from things like Viagra and instead need to find natural remedies for increasing Free and Total testosterone; which Icariin certainly does.


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