OPEN Foundation

A. Linardi

Kinetic profile of N,N-dimethyltryptamine and β-carbolines in saliva and serum after oral administration of ayahuasca in a religious context

Ayahuasca is a beverage obtained from Banisteriopsis caapi plus Psychotria viridis. B. caapi contains the β-carbolines harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine that are monoamine oxidase inhibitors and P. viridis contains N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) that is responsible for the visionary effects of the beverage. Ayahuasca use is becoming a global phenomenon, and the recreational use of DMT and similar alkaloids has also increased in recent years; such uncontrolled use can lead to severe intoxications. In this investigation, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was used to study the kinetics of alkaloids over a 24 h period in saliva and serum of 14 volunteers who consumed ayahuasca twice a month in a religious context. We compared the area under the curve (AUC), maximum concentration (Cmax ), time to reach Cmax (Tmax ), mean residence time (MRT), and half-life (t1/2 ), as well as the serum/saliva ratios of these parameters. DMT and β-carboline concentrations (Cmax ) and AUC were higher in saliva than in serum and the MRT was 1.5-3.0 times higher in serum. A generalized estimation equations (GEEs) model suggested that serum concentrations could be predicted by saliva concentrations, despite large individual variability in the saliva and serum alkaloid concentrations. The possibility of using saliva as a biological matrix to detect DMT, β-carbolines, and their derivatives is very interesting because it allows fast noninvasive sample collection and could be useful for detecting similar alkaloids used recreationally that have considerable potential for intoxication.

Lanaro, R., Mello, S. M., da Cunha, K. F., Silveira, G., Corrêa-Neto, N. F., Hyslop, S., Cabrices, O. G., Costa, J. L., & Linardi, A. (2021). Kinetic profile of N,N-dimethyltryptamine and β-carbolines in saliva and serum after oral administration of ayahuasca in a religious context. Drug testing and analysis, 13(3), 664–678. https://doi.org/10.1002/dta.2955

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Effect of Ritualistic Consumption of Ayahuasca on Hepatic Function in Chronic Users.

Abstract

Ayahuasca is a beverage obtained from decoctions of the liana Banisteriopsis caapi plus the shrub Psychotria viridis. This beverage contains a combination of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (harmine, harmaline, and tetrahydroharmine) and N,N-dimethyltryptamine, the main substance responsible for its visionary effect. The ritualistic use of ayahuasca is becoming a global phenomenon. Most members of ayahuasca churches consume this beverage throughout their life, and many reports have discussed the therapeutic potential of this beverage. Ayahuasca is consumed orally, and the liver, as the major organ for the metabolism and detoxification of xenobiotics absorbed from the alimentary tract, may be susceptible to injury by compounds present in the ayahuasca decoction. In this study, we evaluated biochemical parameters related to hepatic damage in the serum of 22 volunteers who consumed ayahuasca twice a month or more for at least one year. There was no significant alteration in the following parameters: alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, bilirubin, creatinine, urea, lactate dehydrogenase, alkaline phosphatase, and gamma glutamyl transferase. These findings indicate that chronic ayahuasca consumption in a religious context apparently does not affect hepatic function.
Mello, S. M., Soubhia, P. C., Silveira, G., Corrêa-Neto, N. F., Lanaro, R., Costa, J. L., & Linardi, A. (2018). Effect of Ritualistic Consumption of Ayahuasca on Hepatic Function in Chronic Users. Journal of psychoactive drugs, 1-9., 10.1080/02791072.2018.1557355
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An ontogenic study of the behavioral effects of chronic intermittent exposure to ayahuasca in mice

Abstract

Ayahuasca is a beverage obtained from decoctions of the Banisteriopsis caapi plus Psychotria viridis. In religious contexts, ayahuasca is used by different age groups. However, little is known of the effects of ayahuasca during ontogenic development, particularly with regard to the functional characteristics of the central nervous system. Animal models are useful for studying the ontogenic effects of ayahuasca because they allow exclusion of the behavioral influence associated with the ritualistic use. We investigated the effects of exposure to ayahuasca (1.5 mL/kg, orally, twice a week) on memory and anxiety in C57BL/6 mice, with the post-natal day (PND) being used as the ontogenic criterion for classification: childhood (PND21 to PND35), adolescence (PND35 to PND63), adulthood (PND90-PND118), childhood-adolescence (PND21 to PND63), childhood-adulthood (PND21 to PND118) and adolescence-adulthood (PND35 to PND118). One day after the last ayahuasca exposure, the mice were subjected to the Morris water maze (MWM), open field and elevated plus maze tasks (EPM). Ayahuasca did not affect locomotion in the open field or open arms exploration in the EPM, but increased the risk assessment behavior in the childhood group. Ayahuasca did not cause any change in acquisition of spatial reference memory in the MWM task, but decreased the time spent on the platform quadrant during the test session in the adolescence group. These results suggest that, in mice, exposure to ayahuasca in childhood and adolescence promoted anxiety and memory impairment, respectively. However, these behavioral changes were not long-lasting since they were not observed in the childhood-adulthood and adolescence-adulthood groups.
Correa-Netto, N. F., Masukawa, M. Y., Nishide, F., Galfano, G. S., Tamura, F., Shimizo, M. K., … & Linardi, A. (2017). An ontogenic study of the behavioral effects of chronic intermittent exposure to ayahuasca in mice. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research50(7). 10.1590/1414-431×20176036
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Chronic intermittent exposure to ayahuasca during aging does not affect memory in mice

Abstract

The Quechua term ayahuasca refers to a beverage obtained from decoctions of the liana Banisteriopsis caapi with leaves of Psychotria viridis. The ritualistic use of ayahuasca is becoming a global phenomenon, with some individuals using this beverage throughout life, including in old age. Cognitive impairment is a common manifestation during aging. There are conflicting reports on the ability of some ayahuasca compounds to exert neuroprotective or neurotoxic effects that could improve or impair learning and memory. Animal models provide a relevant and accessible means of investigating the behavioral effects of ayahuasca without the environmental conditions associated with the ritualistic use of the beverage. In this study, we investigated the influence of chronic ayahuasca exposure throughout aging on the spatial reference and habituation memories of mice. Twenty-eight male c57bl/6 mice (6 months old) received ayahuasca or water (1.5 mL/kg, orally) twice a week for 12 months and were tested in the Morris water maze (MWM), open field and elevated plus maze (EPM) tasks before and after treatment. During aging, there was significant impairment in the evocation (but not acquisition) of spatial reference memory and in habituation to the open field. There was also a decrease in locomotor activity in the open field and EPM tests, whereas the anxiety parameters were unaltered. Ayahuasca treatment did not alter any of these parameters associated with aging. These findings indicate that chronic exposure to ayahuasca during aging did not affect memory in mice.
Correa-Netto, N. F., Coelho, L. S., Galfano, G. S., Nishide, F., Tamura, F., Shimizu, M. K., … & Linardi, A. (2017). Chronic intermittent exposure to ayahuasca during aging does not affect memory in mice. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research50(7). 10.1590/1414-431×20176037
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21 March - Ketamine Discussion with Celia Morgan, Filip Tylš & Will Barone

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