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Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2018 Sep;37(3):233-239. doi: 10.1080/15569527.2018.1423620. Epub 2018 Jan 19.

Lysergic acid diethylamide causes photoreceptor cell damage through inducing inflammatory response and oxidative stress.

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a Department of Ophthalmology , Ophthalmology Hospital of Ningbo , Ningbo , People's Republic of China.


Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), a classical hallucinogen, was used as a popular and notorious substance of abuse in various parts of the world. Its abuse could result in long-lasting abnormalities in retina and little is known about the exact mechanism. This study was to investigate the effect of LSD on macrophage activation state at non-toxic concentration and its resultant toxicity to photoreceptor cells. Results showed that cytotoxicity was caused by LSD on 661 W cells after co-culturing with RAW264.7 cells. Treatment with LSD-induced RAW264.7 cells to the M1 phenotype, releasing more pro-inflammatory cytokines, and increasing the M1-related gene expression. Moreover, after co-culturing with RAW264.7 cells, significant oxidative stress in 661 W cells treated with LSD was observed, by increasing the level of malondialdehyde (MDA) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), and decreasing the level of glutathione (GSH) and the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD). Our study demonstrated that LSD caused photoreceptor cell damage by inducing inflammatory response and resultant oxidative stress, providing the scientific rationale for the toxicity of LSD to retina.


Lysergic acid diethylamide; RAW264.7 cells; inflammatory response; oxidative stress; photoreceptor cell damage

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