OPEN Foundation

Close this search box.

Indolethylamine-N-methyltransferase Polymorphisms: Genetic and Biochemical Approaches for Study of Endogenous N,N,-dimethyltryptamine

Share This Post


N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a powerful serotonergic psychedelic whose exogenous administration elicits striking psychedelic effects in humans. Studies have identified DMT and analogous compounds (e.g., 5-hydroxy-DMT, 5-methoxy-DMT) alongside of an enzyme capable of synthesizing DMT endogenously from tryptamine, indolethylamine-N-methyltransferase (INMT), in human and several other mammalian tissues. Subsequently, multiple hypotheses for the physiological role of endogenous DMT have emerged, from proposed immunomodulatory functions to an emphasis on the overlap between the mental states generated by exogenous DMT and naturally occurring altered states of consciousness; e.g., schizophrenia. However, no clear relationship between endogenous DMT and naturally occurring altered states of consciousness has yet been established from in vivo assays of DMT in bodily fluids. The advent of genetic screening has afforded the capability to link alterations in the sequence of specific genes to behavioral and molecular phenotypes via expression of identified single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in cell and animal models. As SNPs in INMT may impact endogenous DMT synthesis and levels via changes in INMT expression and/or INMT structure and function, these combined genetic and biochemical approaches circumvent the limitations of assaying DMT in bodily fluids and may augment data from prior in vitro and in vivo work. Therefore, all reported SNPs in INMTwere amassed from genetic and biochemical literature and genomic databases to consolidate a blueprint for future studies aimed at elucidating whether DMT plays a physiological role.

Dean, J. G. (2018). Indolethylamine-N-methyltransferase polymorphisms: genetic and biochemical approaches for study of endogenous N, N,-dimethyltryptamine. Frontiers in neuroscience12.,  10.3389/fnins.2018.00232
Link to full text

OPEN Foundation

Join ICPR 2022 Online!

ICPR features world-leading experts from many academic disciplines, including psychiatry, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, ethnobotany, and philosophy who come together to give a scientific conference for academics, therapists, researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and members of the public. Get your ICPR 2022 livestream ticket today and use the code OPENLIVE30 at checkout for a €30 discount.

Learn More


Subscribe to our new OPEN-Minded newsletter to stay in the loop, hear about our events, and become a part of a community dedicated to advancing psychedelics.

By clicking subscribe, I confirm to receive emails from the OPEN Foundation and agree with its privacy policy.

16 July - NDE's and Psychedelic Experiences: Commonalities & Insights