Related entry: Ergot
C35H41N5O6 = 627.378.
Synonyms.—Hydro-ergotinine; Cornutine; Ecboline.
Ergotoxine, C35H41N5O6, is an alkaloid of feebly basic properties, obtained from the mother liquors of crystalline ergotinine by extraction with ether. It occurs as a light, white amorphous powder. It softens at 155°, and gradually melts at 162° to 164°. Its optical rotation has not yet been satisfactorily determined. Towards alkaloidal reagents it is distinctly more sensitive than ergotinine; the best precipitant being potassio-mercuric iodide. It gives the same colour reactions as ergotinine, for the reasons stated under Ergotinina. The salts of the base may usually be prepared by adding a concentrated alcoholic solution of the acid drop by drop to a dilute ethereal solution of the base obtained from the phosphate, avoiding excess in the case of the mineral acids, as they decompose the substance.
Soluble in alcohol, and slightly soluble in ether, but practically insoluble in water; readily soluble in most of the usual organic solvents and in aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide.
Action and Uses.—Ergotoxine is one of the active constituents of ergot, and produces all the effects ascribed by Kobert to sphacelinic acid and by Jacoby to sphacelotoxin. At the same time, it probably represents only a small part of the action of ergot, since it is almost absent from the liquid extract. It has a powerful stimulating action on all plain muscle-tissue, and in particular on the arterioles and uterus, but the whole action of ergot on the uterus and the vessels is not due to the ergotoxine it contains, as explained under Ergota. The action of ergotoxine differs from that of in being much more prolonged. Ergotoxine in large doses has been found to cause paralysis of the motor fibres in the sympathetic. It is as yet too early to decide whether ergotoxine may have a clinical value.
Dose.—½ to 1 ½ milligrams (1/120 to 1/50 grain).