Evaluation of the neurotoxic effects of ayahuasca tea / Avaliação dos efeitos neurotóxicos do chá ayahuasca
Alex Roberto Melgar Figueroa
DATA DE PUBLICAÇÃO
Ayahuasca tea is a psychotropic beverage that has caused controversy due to the fact of being used indiscriminately by some group of people and the ease of purchase in the worldweb. The tea is derived by boiling the bark of the liana Banisteriopsis Caapi (B. Caapi) together with the leaves of Psychotria Viridis (P.Viridis). B. Caapi contains alkaloids as harmine, harmaline and harmalol, highly active reversible inhibitors of monoamine oxidase A and MAO-B. These compounds have been described as protecting neuronal mitochondria against oxidative damage, besides having anticonvulsivant and anxiolytic actions. On the other hand, these alkaloids, together with dimethyltryptamine (DMT), the main hallucinogenic component of P. Viridis, also had been described as endogenous neurotoxins that could participate in neurodegenerative diseases. In this work, the neurotoxicity of ayahuasca was studied by the method of fluorescence of Caspase-3 and the TUNEL assay. By gastric gavage, was administered in a daily regime during twenty-one days, 2 ml of water to a group of rats (control n=12) and 2 ml of 50% ayahuasca tea to another similar group (n=12). Analysis of reduced glutathione (GSH), malonaldehyde (MDA) and vitamin E was made, to assess lipid peroxidation and also analysis of urinary urea and creatinine, to assess kidney function of animals. The results of the TUNEL assay, showed statistical significant values in the ayahuasca group. No differences were found in Caspase-3 analysis. The values of serum MDA and GSH as well as hepatic vitamin E, showed a statistically significant reduction in the group treated with ayahuasca. The results of this investigation indicate the presence of oxidative stress in rats treated with ayahuasca tea, with statistical significant values of neuronal apoptosis measured by TUNEL assay. It is advisable to conduct further studies to elucidate the neurotoxic effects of ayahuasca tea.
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