J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Nov;73(1-2):153-9.
In vitro pharmacological activity of the tetrahydroisoquinoline salsolinol present in products from Theobroma cacao L. like cocoa and chocolate.
Melzig MF, Putscher I, Henklein P, Haber H.
Institute of Pharmacy, Humboldt University, Goethestr. 54, 13086, Berlin, Germany. [email protected]
Cocoa and chocolate contain the tetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloid salsolinol up to a concentration of 25 microg/g. Salsolinol is a dopaminergic active compound which binds to the D(2) receptor family, especially to the D(3) receptor with a K(i) of 0.48+/-0.021 micromol/l. It inhibits the formation of cyclic AMP and the release of beta-endorphin and ACTH in a pituitary cell system. Taking the detected concentration and the pharmacological properties into account, salsolinol seems to be one of the main psychoactive compounds present in cocoa and chocolate and might be included in chocolate addiction.