(S)-Canadine is the immediate metabolic precursor of berberine, which is obtained through the action of the enzyme (S)-tetrahydroprotoberberine oxidase. It is also an intermediate in the complex biosynthesis of noscapine, which is likewise a benzylisoquinolinealkaloid, but of the phthalideisoquinoline structural subgroup.
A number of in vitro effects of (S)-canadine have been reported. It stimulates myogenesis and inhibits muscle protein degradation. (S)-Canadine blocks K(ATP) channels in dopamine neurons. (S)-Canadine has displayed antioxidant activity: though it lacked any demonstrable cytotoxic effect in three unique cell cultures, it was observed to possess antioxidant activity against free radical-induced oxidative injury. (S)-Canadine can block voltage-dependent calcium channels, but at a level significantly lower than that of verapamil.
^Chen, Xue; Facchini, Peter J. (2014). "Short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase catalyzing the final step of noscapine biosynthesis is localized to laticifers in opium poppy". The Plant Journal. 77 (2): 173–184. doi:10.1111/tpj.12379. PMID24708518.