Systematic (IUPAC) name
Clinical data
Legal status
  • Unscheduled
CAS number  YesY
ATC code None
ChemSpider  YesY
Chemical data
Formula C15H24N2O 
Mol. mass 248.364 g/mol

Matrine is an alkaloid found in plants from the Sophora genus. It has a variety of pharmacological effects, including anti-cancer effects,[1] and action as a kappa opioid receptor and µ-receptor agonist.[2][3]

Matrine possesses strong antitumor activities in vitro and in vivo. Inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis are the likely mechanisms responsible for matrine's antitumor activities.[4] Matrine is a component of the traditional Chinese medical herb Sophora flavescens Ait.

Matrine and the related compound oxymatrine have an antifeedant effect against Formosan subterranean termite.[5]


  1. ^ Zhang, Y.; Zhang, H.; Yu, P.; Liu, Q.; Liu, K.; Duan, H.; Luan, G.; Yagasaki, K.; Zhang, G. (April 2009). "Effects of Matrine against the Growth of Human Lung Cancer and Hepatoma Cells as well as Lung Cancer Cell Migration". Cytotechnology 59 (3): 191–200.  
  2. ^ Xiao, P.; Kubo, H.; Ohsawa, M.; Higashiyama, K.; Nagase, H.; Yan, Y. N.; Li, J. S.; Kamei, J.; Ohmiya, S. (April 1999). "Kappa-Opioid Receptor-Mediated Antinociceptive Effects of Stereoisomers and Derivatives of (+)-Matrine in Mice". Planta Medica 65 (3): 230–233.  
  3. ^ Higashiyama, K.; Takeuchi, Y.; Yamauchi, T.; Imai, S.; Kamei, J.; Yajima, Y.; Narita, M.; Suzuki, T. (May 2005). "Implication of the Descending Dynorphinergic Neuron Projecting to the Spinal Cord in the (+)-Matrine- and (+)-Allomatrine-Induced Antinociceptive Effects" (pdf). Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 28 (5): 845–848.  
  4. ^ Ma, L.; Wen, S.; Zhan, Y.; He, Y.; Liu, X.; Jiang, J. (2008). "Anticancer Effects of the Chinese Medicine Matrine on Murine Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells". Planta Medica 74 (3): 245–251.  
  5. ^ Mao, L.; Henderson, G. (2007). "Antifeedant Activity and Acute and Residual Toxicity of Alkaloids from Sophora flavescens (Leguminosae) against Formosan Subterranean Termites (Isoptera: Rhinotermitidae)". Journal of Economic Entomology 100 (3): 866–870.