The pharmacokinetic properties of yohimbine in the conscious rat

John W. Hubbard, Sandra L. Pfister, Ana M. Biediger, Thomas C. Herzig, T. Kent Keeton

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40 Scopus citations


We used high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection to measure the concentration of yohimbine in serum and brain of conscious Sprague-Dawley rats at various times after the i.v. injection of 1 mg/kg of yohimbine. The serum concentration-time profile of yohimbine was biphasic with a rapid distribution phase (t1/2α = 0.048 h) followed by a very slow elimination phase (t1/2β = 16.3 h). The clearance of yohimbine was 11 ml/h·kg-1, and the volume of distribution was 259 ml/ kg. Increasing doses (0.3, 1 and 3 mg/kg, i.v.) of yohimbine produced non-linear increases in serum yohimbine concentration. Yohimbine entered the brain rapidly (5,000 ng/g at 5 min after 1 mg/kg, i.v.) and disappeared from brain with a t1/2β of 7.7 h. In contrast to serum yohimbine concentration, increasing doses of yohimbine (0.3, 1 and 3 mg/kg) produced linear increases in brain yohimbine concentration, a phenomenon which is consistent with concentration-dependent binding of yohimbine to plasma proteins. The rapid entry of yohimbine into the brain, the slow rate of elimination of yohimbine from serum and brain and the linear relationship of brain yohimbine concentration as a function of dose should be taken into consideration whenever yohimbine is to be used as a probe of α2-adrenoceptor function in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-587
Number of pages5
JournalNaunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1988


  • High performance liquid chromatography
  • Pharmacokinetic parameters
  • Rats
  • Serum and brain drug concentrations
  • Yohimbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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