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Biochem Pharmacol. 1991 Jun 1;41(11):1739-44.

Differential interactions of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) with 5-HT1A and 5-HT2 receptors.

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  • 1Neurology Service (127), VA Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA 94304.


The interactions of the indolealkylamine N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) with 5-hydroxytryptamine1A (5-HT1A) and 5-HT2 receptors in rat brain were analyzed using radioligand binding techniques and biochemical functional assays. The affinity of DMT for 5-HT1A sites labeled by [3H]-8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin ([3H]-8-OH-DPAT) was decreased in the presence of 10(-4) M GTP, suggesting agonist activity of DMT at this receptor. Adenylate cyclase studies in rat hippocampi showed that DMT inhibited forskolin-stimulated cyclase activity, a 5-HT1A agonist effect. DMT displayed full agonist activity with an EC50 of 4 x 10(-6) M in the cyclase assay. In contrast to the agonist actions of DMT at 5-HT1A receptors, DMT appeared to have antagonistic properties at 5-HT2 receptors. The ability of DMT to compete for [3H]-ketanserin-labeled 5-HT2 receptors was not affected by the presence of 10(-4) M GTP, suggesting antagonist activity of DMT at 5-HT2 receptors. In addition, DMT antagonized 5-HT2-receptor-mediated phosphatidylinositol (PI) turnover in rat cortex at concentrations above 10(-7) M, with 70% of the 5-HT-induced PI response inhibited at 10(-4) M DMT. Micromolar concentrations of DMT produced a slight PI stimulation that was not blocked by the 5-HT2 antagonist ketanserin. These studies suggest that DMT has opposing actions on 5-HT receptor subtypes, displaying agonist activity at 5-HT1A receptors and antagonist activity at 5-HT2 receptors.

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