Terpenes are a class of chemical compounds with carbon and hydrogen atoms in their structure. They can be classified into several classes according to the quantity of isoprene units present in its structure. Terpenes can have their structure modified by the addition of various chemical radicals. When these molecules are modified by the addition of atoms other than carbon and hydrogen, they become terpenoids. Terpenes and terpenoids come from the secondary metabolism of several plants. They can be found in the leaves, fruits, stem, flowers, and roots. The concentration of terpenes and terpenoids in these organs can vary according to several factors such as the season, collection method, and time of the day. Several biological activities and physiological actions are attributed to terpenes and terpenoids. Studies in the literature demonstrate that these molecules have antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive, antispasmodic, and antidiabetogenic activities. Additionally, repellent and gastroprotective activity is reported. Among the most prominent activities of monoterpenes and monoterpenoids are those on the cardiovascular system. Reports on literature reveal the potential effect of monoterpenes and monoterpenoids on systemic blood pressure. Studies show that these substances have a hypotensive and bradycardic effect. In addition, the inotropic activity, both positive and negative, of these compounds has been reported. Studies also have shown that some monoterpenes and monoterpenoids also have a vasorelaxing activity on several vascular beds. These effects are attributed, in many cases to the blocking of ion channels, such as voltage-gated calcium channels. It can also be observed that monoterpenes and monoterpenoids can have their effects modulated by the action of the vascular endothelium. In addition, it has been shown that the molecular structure and the presence of chemical groups influence the potency and efficacy of these compounds on vascular beds. Here, the effect of several monoterpenes and monoterpenoids on systemic blood pressure and vascular smooth muscle will be reported.
Part of the book: Terpenes and Terpenoids