Only recently has the full therapeutic value of serotonin [5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HT)] receptor activation begun to be explored. Currently there are two 5-HT2A receptor agonists in human clinical trials for the treatment of depression and obesity. An exciting new therapeutic avenue in which 5-HT2A agonists might be employed is the modulation of inflammation in allergic airways disease. Our lab has previously used an ovalbumin (OVA)-induced asthma model to demonstrate that administration of (R)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine [(R)-DOI] prior to allergen challenge prevents many of the symptoms of allergic asthma. Here we have utilized a modified protocol to test the effectiveness of (R)-DOI in treating persistent allergic asthma. We demonstrate that administration of (R)-DOI in a chronic model attenuates the elevated airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR) typically observed in an asthmatic response. We also have probed for the expression of inflammatory markers in the lung and BALF. We concurrently are testing for the impact psilocybin and other tryptamines have on AHR in rodents using our OVA model. Overall our strategy is to develop 5-HT2A receptor agonism as a viable treatment modality against asthma and other inflammatory disorders.
Flanagan, T. W., Sebastian, M. N., & Nichols, C. D. (2017). Anti-inflammatory effects of serotonin 5-HT2A receptor activation in ovalbumin-induced allergic asthma models. The FASEB Journal, 31(1 Supplement), 820-4.
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