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Evaluation of cytotoxicity and cytoprotection of ayahuasca in SH-SY5Y cells

Grant number: 18/21916-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology - Neuropsychopharmacology
Principal Investigator:Fulvio Rieli Mendes
Grantee:Cristiane dos Santos Costa
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas (CCNH). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil


Ayahusaca is a brew used in ritualistic ceremonies, prepared by decoction of Banisteriopsis caapi e a Psychotria viridis. The leaves of P. viridis possess the hallucinogenic compound DMT while the stem of B. caapi has beta-carboline alkaloids which are monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. As consequence, the DMT metabolism is inhibited in the gastrointestinal tract allowing the DMT absorption. Recently, the psychoactive and therapeutic properties of ayahuasca have been investigated and many studies support the use of ayahuasca for the treatment of depression, anxiety, drug addiction and for neuroprotection. Harmine, harmaline and some proantocyanidins of B. caapi are considered the main substances responsible for the neuroprotective potential, presenting a potent antioxidant effect and inhibition on MAO-A and -B, among other effects. In our project we intend to evaluate the antioxidant capacity of ayahuasca on DPPH scavenger test and the inhibition of MAO and acetylcholinesterase. It is also our objective evaluate the cytoprotective effect of ayahuasca in culture cells (SH-SY5Y) exposed to hydrogen peroxide and beta amyloid and elucidate some possible mechanism of action. In case of cytoprotective effect against H2O2 and beta amyloid, the possible mechanisms involved with the cytoprotection will be better evaluated by flow cytometry, which allow to detect the rate of viable cells and cells in process of apoptosis and necrosis.

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