Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mechanism of hallucinogens' effects discovered

01.02.2007
The brain mechanism underlying the mind-bending effects of hallucinogens such as LSD, mescaline, and psilocybin has been discovered by neuroscientists.

They said their discoveries not only shed light on the longtime mystery of how hallucinogens work, but that the findings also offer a pathway to understanding the function of drugs used to treat neuropsychiatric disorders, which are now being used largely without an understanding of their fundamental mechanism.

Stuart Sealfon, Jay Gingrich, and colleagues published their findings in the February 1, 2007 issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

Researchers have long known that hallucinogens activate specific receptors in the brain, called 5-HT2A receptors (2ARs), that are normally triggered by the neurotransmitter serotonin. Neurotransmitters are chemicals that one brain cell launches at receptors on another to trigger a nerve impulse in the receiving cell. However, a fundamental mystery has been why other compounds that activate the same receptors are not hallucinogenic.

In their studies, the researchers compared the differences between the effects of LSD and a nonhallucinogenic chemical that also activates 2AR receptors on the mouse neural machinery. Since the animals could not report the kinds of perception-altering effects that humans experience on hallucinogens, the researchers determined hallucinogenic properties by measuring a head twitch response the mice characteristically showed when under hallucinogens but not when under nonhallucinogens.

The scientists concentrated their studies on the cortex of the brain, which earlier studies had shown to be the center for action of the hallucinogens. Their analysis revealed that LSD produced genetic, electrophysiological, and internal cellular signaling responses that were distinctively different from those induced by a nonhallucinogenic compound.

They also explored whether 2ARs were central to the hallucinogenic effect of LSD by producing mice lacking the receptors, but in which receptor activity could be selectively restored in the cortex. The researchers found that mice without functioning receptors showed no hallucinogenic response to LSD, but restoring the receptors rendered LSD hallucinogenic in the animals.

The researchers wrote that "These studies identify the long-elusive neural and signaling mechanisms responsible for the unique effects of hallucinogens."

They also concluded that "The strategy we developed to elucidate [hallucinogen] action should be applicable to [central nervous system]-active compounds, with therapeutic potential in other disorders. Thus, our findings may advance the understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders that have specific pharmacological treatments whose mechanisms of action are not fully understood."

Erin Doonan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com

Further reports about: 2AR LSD hallucinogenic hallucinogens psychiatric disorder receptor

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Flow of cerebrospinal fluid regulates neural stem cell division
22.05.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt

nachricht Chemists at FAU successfully demonstrate imine hydrogenation with inexpensive main group metal
22.05.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

Im Focus: Computer-Designed Customized Regenerative Heart Valves

Cardiovascular tissue engineering aims to treat heart disease with prostheses that grow and regenerate. Now, researchers from the University of Zurich, the Technical University Eindhoven and the Charité Berlin have successfully implanted regenerative heart valves, designed with the aid of computer simulations, into sheep for the first time.

Producing living tissue or organs based on human cells is one of the main research fields in regenerative medicine. Tissue engineering, which involves growing...

Im Focus: Light-induced superconductivity under high pressure

A team of scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg investigated optically-induced superconductivity in the alkali-doped fulleride K3C60under high external pressures. This study allowed, on one hand, to uniquely assess the nature of the transient state as a superconducting phase. In addition, it unveiled the possibility to induce superconductivity in K3C60 at temperatures far above the -170 degrees Celsius hypothesized previously, and rather all the way to room temperature. The paper by Cantaluppi et al has been published in Nature Physics.

Unlike ordinary metals, superconductors have the unique capability of transporting electrical currents without any loss. Nowadays, their technological...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersonic waves may help electronics beat the heat

18.05.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Keeping a Close Eye on Ice Loss

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

CrowdWater: An App for Flood Research

18.05.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>