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Preliminary assessment of the antiparkinsonian potential of ayahuasca in cell and animal models

Grant number: 20/02114-7
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2021
Effective date (End): October 31, 2022
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology - Neuropsychopharmacology
Principal Investigator:Fulvio Rieli Mendes
Grantee:Gabriela Morales Lima
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, but their synergic effect must be better evaluated. In our project we intend to evaluate the antioxidant capacity of ayahuasca on lipid peroxidation test and the inhibition of MAO (types A and B). It is also our objective evaluate the cytoprotective effect of ayahuasca in culture cells (SH-SY5Y) exposed to 6-OHDA. This project also will evaluate the effect of ayahuasca pre-treatment on the haloperidol-induced dopaminergic blockade. The motor activity will be assessed as motor coordination (rotarod), spontaneous motor activity (open-field) and in catalepsy tests.

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