Author Topic: The natural hallucinogen 5-MeO-DMT, disrupts cortical function in rats  (Read 936 times)

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Riga MS, Soria G, Tudela R, Artigas F & Celada, P 2014, 'The natural hallucinogen 5-MeO-DMT, component of Ayahuasca, disrupts cortical function in rats: reversal by antipsychotic drugs', International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacoly, vol. 17, no. 8, pp. 1269-1282. DOI:


5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) is a natural hallucinogen component of Ayahuasca, an Amazonian beverage traditionally used for ritual, religious and healing purposes that is being increasingly used for recreational purposes in US and Europe. 5MeO-DMT is of potential interest for schizophrenia research owing to its hallucinogenic properties. Two other psychotomimetic agents, phencyclidine and 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodo-phenylisopropylamine (DOI), markedly disrupt neuronal activity and reduce the power of low frequency cortical oscillations (<4 Hz, LFCO) in rodent medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). Here we examined the effect of 5-MeO-DMT on cortical function and its potential reversal by antipsychotic drugs. Moreover, regional brain activity was assessed by blood-oxygen level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). 5-MeO-DMT disrupted mPFC activity, increasing and decreasing the discharge of 51 and 35% of the recorded pyramidal neurons, and reducing (−31%) the power of LFCO. The latter effect depended on 5-HT1A and 5-HT2A receptor activation and was reversed by haloperidol, clozapine, risperidone, and the mGlu2/3 agonist LY379268. Likewise, 5-MeO-DMT decreased BOLD responses in visual cortex (V1) and mPFC. The disruption of cortical activity induced by 5-MeO-DMT resembles that produced by phencyclidine and DOI. This, together with the reversal by antipsychotic drugs, suggests that the observed cortical alterations are related to the psychotomimetic action of 5-MeO-DMT. Overall, the present model may help to understand the neurobiological basis of hallucinations and to identify new targets in antipsychotic drug development.