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Ayahuasca, a psychedelic beverage, modulates neuroplasticity induced by ethanol in mice
Behavioural Brain Research  (IF3.332),  Pub Date : 2021-08-23, DOI: 10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113546
Carolina Aparecida Faria Almeida, Antonio Alves Pereira-Junior, Jéssica Gonçalves Rangel, Bruna Pinheiro Pereira, Karla Cristinne Mancini Costa, Vitor Bruno, Gabriela Oliveira Silveira, Carla Speroni Ceron, Mauricio Yonamine, Rosana Camarini, Raphael Caio Tamborelli Garcia, Tania Marcourakis, Larissa Helena Torres

Alcohol use disorder needs more effective treatments because relapse rates remain high. Psychedelics, such as ayahuasca, have been used to treat substance use disorders. Our study aimed to evaluate the effects of ayahuasca on ethanol-induced behavioral sensitization (EIBS). Swiss mice received 2.2 g/kg ethanol or saline IP injections every other day across nine days (D1, D3, D5, D7, and D9), and locomotor activity was evaluated 10 min after each injection. Then, animals were treated daily with ayahuasca (corresponding to 1.76 mg/kg of N,N-dimethyltryptamine, DMT) or water by oral gavage for eight consecutive days. On the seventh day, mice were evaluated in the elevated plus maze. Then, mice were challenged with a single dose of ethanol to measure their locomotor activity. Dopamine receptors, serotonin receptors, dynorphin, and prodynorphin levels were quantified in the striatum and hippocampus by blot analysis. Repeated ethanol administration resulted in EIBS. However, those animals treated with ayahuasca had an attenuated EIBS. Moreover, ayahuasca reduced the anxiogenic response to ethanol withdrawal and prevented the ethanol-induced changes on 5-HT1a receptor and prodynorphin levels in the hippocampus and reduced ethanol effects in the dynorphin/prodynorphin ratio levels in the striatum. These results suggest a potential application of ayahuasca to modulate the neuroplastic changes induced by ethanol.