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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Neurotransmitter basis of the behavioral effects of hallucinogens.

Indole and phenethylamine-type hallucinogenic drugs were studied in an FR-40 operant behavioral procedure programmed to quantify "pausing,"-a behavioral disruption somewhat specific to hallucinatory drug effects. LSD, DOM, DMT and mescaline showed a potency ratio to produce pausing that is well correlated with the hallucinatory potencies of these agents in man. Furthermore, combinations of the hallucinogens interact with potentiation to cause FR-40 pausing, whereas a variety of non-hallucinogenic psychoactive drugs failed to shift the dose-response patterns of pausing for DOM or LSD. Depletion of brain catecholamines by pretreatment with intraventricular 6-OHDA reduced baseline FR-40 rates and attenuated the disruptive effects of d-amphetamine, but failed to modify the dose-response patterns of indole and phenethylamine hallucinogens. On the other hand, pretreatment with intraventricular 5,7-DHT to deplete brain 5-HT potentiated the pause-producing effects of the hallucinogens, although the disruptive effects of phenobarbital were not altered by this pretreatment. Injection of 5,7-DHT into the medial forebrain bundle at the hypothalamic level slightly potentiated LSD, attenuated DOM, and did not affect the pausing produced by mescaline. Metergoline pretreatment shifted the LSD and DMT dose-response curves for pausing to the right by a factor of 2--3, but shifted the DOM and mescaline dose-response patterns to a much greater extent. Metergoline alone slightly increased FR-40 response rates and decreased pausing from baseline levels. The patterns of imparied FR-40 performance induced by d-amphetamine and phenobarbital were unaltered by pretreatment with metergoline. The indole and phenethylamine classes of hallucinogens appear to disrupt this behavior by an agonistic effect at central 5-HT receptors. However, the two classes of drugs may interact with brain 5-HT systems by somewhat different mechanisms.[1]


  1. Neurotransmitter basis of the behavioral effects of hallucinogens. Rech, R.H., Commissaris, R.L. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews. (1982) [Pubmed]
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