A novel aphrodisiac compound from an orchid that activates nitric oxide synthases
International Journal of Impotence Research (2013) 25, 212–216 A Subramoniam
Nitric oxide (NO) is known to have roles in several crucial biological functions including vasodilation and penile erection. There are neuronal, endothelial and inducible NO synthases that influence the levels of NO in tissues and blood. NO activates guanylate cyclase and thereby increases the levels of cyclic GMP (cGMP). Viagra (sildenafil), a top selling drug in the world for erectile dysfunction, inhibits phosphodiesterase-5, which hydrolyses cGMP to GMP. Thus, it fosters an NO-mediated increase in the levels of cGMP, which mediates erectile function.
Here, we show the aphrodisiac activity of a novel chemical isolate from the flowers of an epiphytic orchid, Vanda tessellata (Roxb.) ex Don, which activates neuronal and endothelial, but not inducible, NO synthases. The aphrodisiac activity is caused by an increase in the level of NO in corpus cavernosum. The drug increases blood levels of NO as early as 30 min after oral administration. The active compound was isolated by column chromatography. Based on the spectral data, the active compound is found to be a new compound, 2,7,7-tri methyl bicyclo [2.2.1] heptane. We anticipate that our findings could lead to the development of a commercially viable and valuable drug for erectile dysfunction.