Vinpocetine, a natural product from the periwinkle plant, can work as an anti-inflammatory agent holding promise for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.
In the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center were the first to find that vinpocetine acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent when tested in a mouse model of lung inflammation, as well as several other types of human cells.
Results of the study show that vinpocetine greatly reduces inflammation, and, unlike steroids, does not cause severe side effects.
"What is extremely exciting and promising about these findings is vinpocetine's excellent safety profile," said Chen Yan, Ph.D., associate professor within the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Medical Center and a senior author of the study. "Previously, most drugs tested in this area have failed, not because of a lack of efficacy, but because of safety issues. We're very encouraged by these results and believe vinpocetine has great potential for the treatment of COPD and other inflammatory diseases."
Vinpocetine is a well-known natural product that was originally discovered nearly 30 years ago and is currently used as a dietary supplement for the prevention and treatment of cognitive disorders, such as stroke and memory loss, in Europe, Japan and China.