|Preferred IUPAC name
3D model (JSmol)
CompTox Dashboard (EPA)
|Molar mass||152.11 g/mol|
|1 g/ 14.5 L @ 16 °C|
1 g/1.4 L @ 100 °C
|NFPA 704 (fire diamond)|
Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).
Xanthine (/ˈzænθiːn/ or /ˈzænθaɪn/; archaically xanthic acid; systematic name 3,7-dihydropurine-2,6-dione) is a purine base found in most human body tissues and fluids, as well as in other organisms. Several stimulants are derived from xanthine, including caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine.
Xanthine is a product on the pathway of purine degradation.
Xanthine is subsequently converted to uric acid by the action of the xanthine oxidase enzyme.
Xanthine is used as a drug precursor for human and animal medications, and is manufactured as a pesticide ingredient.
Derivatives of xanthine (known collectively as xanthines) are a group of alkaloids commonly used for their effects as mild stimulants and as bronchodilators, notably in the treatment of asthma or influenza symptoms. In contrast to other, more potent stimulants like sympathomimetic amines, xanthines mainly act to oppose the actions of adenosine, and increase alertness in the central nervous system.
Methylxanthines (methylated xanthines), which include caffeine, aminophylline, IBMX, paraxanthine, pentoxifylline, theobromine, theophylline, and 7-methylxanthine (heteroxanthine), among others, affect the airways, increase heart rate and force of contraction, and at high concentrations can cause cardiac arrhythmias. In high doses, they can lead to convulsions that are resistant to anticonvulsants. Methylxanthines induce gastric acid and pepsin secretions in the gastrointestinal tract. Methylxanthines are metabolized by cytochrome P450 in the liver.
If swallowed, inhaled, or exposed to the eyes in high amounts, xanthines can be harmful, and may cause an allergic reaction if applied topically.
In in vitro pharmacological studies, xanthines act as both:
However, different analogues show varying potency at the numerous subtypes, and a wide range of synthetic xanthines (some nonmethylated) have been developed searching for compounds with greater selectivity for phosphodiesterase enzyme or adenosine receptor subtypes.
|Name||R1||R2||R3||R8||IUPAC nomenclature||Found in|
|Caffeine||CH3||CH3||CH3||H||1,3,7-Trimethyl-1H-purine-2,6(3H,7H)-dione||Coffee, guarana, yerba mate, tea, kola, guayusa, Cacao (chocolate)|
|Theobromine||H||CH3||CH3||H||3,7-Dihydro-3,7-dimethyl-1H-purine-2,6-dione||Cacao (chocolate), yerba mate, kola, guayusa|
|Theophylline||CH3||CH3||H||H||1,3-Dimethyl-7H-purine-2,6-dione||Tea, cacao (chocolate), yerba mate, kola|
|Paraxanthine||CH3||H||CH3||H||1,7-Dimethyl-7H-purine-2,6-dione||Animals that have consumed caffeine|
|8-Chlorotheophylline||CH3||CH3||H||Cl||8-Chloro-1,3-dimethyl-7H-purine-2,6-dione||Synthetic pharmaceutical ingredient|
|8-Bromotheophylline||CH3||CH3||H||Br||8-Bromo-1,3-dimethyl-7H-purine-2,6-dione||Pamabrom diuretic medication|
|Diprophylline||CH3||CH3||C3H7O2||H||7-(2,3-Dihydroxypropyl)-1,3-dimethyl-3,7-dihydro-1H-purine-2,6-dione||Synthetic pharmaceutical ingredient|
|Uric acid||H||H||H||O||7,9-Dihydro-1H-purine-2,6,8(3H)-trione||Byproduct of purine nucleotides metabolism and a normal component of urine|
People with rare genetic disorders, specifically xanthinuria and Lesch–Nyhan syndrome, lack sufficient xanthine oxidase and cannot convert xanthine to uric acid.
Studies reported in 2008, based on 12C/13C isotopic ratios of organic compounds found in the Murchison meteorite, suggested that xanthine and related chemicals, including the RNA component uracil, have been formed extraterrestrially. In August 2011, a report, based on NASA studies with meteorites found on Earth, was published suggesting xanthine and related organic molecules, including the DNA and RNA components adenine and guanine, were found in outer space.