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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2015 Jul;66(1):58-62. doi: 10.1097/FJC.0000000000000243.

Ayahuasca Alters Structural Parameters of the Rat Aorta.

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*Department of Morphology, Physiology and Basic Pathology, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil; †Department of Neuroscience and Behavior, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil; ‡Department of Biophysiologic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine of Catanduva, Catanduva, Brazil; §National Institute for Translational Medicine (INCT-TM), CNPq, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil; ¶Molecular and Cellular Biology Unit, Biosciences Institute-Molecular and Cellular Biology (UNESP), Rio Claro, Brazil; ‖Centre d'Investigació de Medicaments, Servei de Farmacologia Clínica, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain; **Human Experimental Neuropsychopharmacology, Institut de Recerca, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain; ††Departament de Farmacologia i Terapèutica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain; and ‡‡Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Salud Mental, CIBERSAM, Barcelona, Spain.


Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic brew traditionally used by Northwestern Amazonian indigenous groups for therapeutic purposes. It is prepared by the decoction of Banisteriopsis caapi with the leaves of Psychotria viridis. Banisteriopsis caapi contains β-carbolines that are inhibitors of monoamine oxidase and P. viris is rich in dimethyltryptamine, a 5-HT(1A/2A/2C) agonist. Acute ayahuasca administration produces moderate cardiovascular effects in healthy volunteers, but information regarding long-term use is lacking. This study investigated the effects of ayahuasca (2-4 mL/kg) in the rat aorta after acute and chronic (14 days) administration. Ayahuasca caused flattening and stretching of vascular smooth muscle cells and changes in the arrangement and distribution of collagen and elastic fibers. Chronic treatment with the higher dose significantly increased media thickness and the ratio of media thickness to lumen diameter. More research is needed on the cardiovascular function of long-term ayahuasca consumers.

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