Objective: Folklore claims of the therapeutic effect of garden slug (Diplosolenodes occidentalis) extract used to relieve bronchoconstriction in asthmatic individuals were never validated scientifically. The aim of this study was to isolate the pure bioactive compound from slug extract causing this effect.
Methods: The crude ground material was prepared in ethanol and after filtration, separation by flash column chromatography method was done. The structure was elucidated by data from hydrogen and carbon nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) profiles. The bioactive compound was assessed for dose dependent response effects on guinea pig tracheal smooth muscle pre- contracted with histamine. Receptor specificity studies were done by using HTMT dimaleate (H1 agonist). The type of antagonism was also identified.
Results: The pure component isolated from garden slug material was identified by spectral studies as Glyceryl trilinolenate (GT). It caused dose-dependent relaxation in guinea pig tracheal smooth muscle strips pre-contracted with histamine, it acted via H1 type receptors and showed non-competitive antagonism.
Conclusion: Glyceryl trilinolenate produced dose-dependent relaxation in tracheal smooth muscle strips in the presence of the agonist histamine. Glyceryl trilinolenate displayed non-competitive antagonism at H1 receptors in the trachea. This agent was able to alleviate bronchoconstriction in individuals presenting with atopic asthma in rural agricultural areas in Jamaica (verbal communications). It is possible that GT can be useful therapeutically to produce tracheal smooth muscle relaxation in individuals presenting with atopic asthma.