, Volume 116, Issue 3, pp 385–387 | Cite as

Platelet serotonin uptake sites increased in drinkers ofayahuasca

  • James C Callaway
  • Mauno M Airaksinen
  • Dennis J McKenna
  • Glacus S Brito
  • Charles S Grob
Rapid Communications


The binding of [3H]citalopram to the platelet 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) transporter was measured in a group of healthy male drinkers ofayahuasca, a psychoactive sacrament indigenous to Amazonia, and a group healthy male controls. An increased number of binding sites (Bmax) in the platelets of ayahuasca drinkers was found, while the dissociation constant (Kd) remained the same for both groups. If indicative of neuronal 5-HT uptake activity, these results would suggest a decreased concentration of extracellular 5-HT, or a response to increased production and release of 5-HT. Such changes in 5-HT synaptic activity, in this case, should not be misinterpreted as an indication of developing neurological or psychiatric illness.

Key words

β-Carbolines Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) Ethnopharmacology Harmala alkaloids Human platelets 5-Hydroxytryptamine Psychedelic 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • James C Callaway
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mauno M Airaksinen
    • 1
  • Dennis J McKenna
    • 3
  • Glacus S Brito
    • 4
  • Charles S Grob
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of KuopioKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical ChemistryUniversity of KuopioKuopioFinland
  3. 3.Botanical DimensionsOccidentalUSA
  4. 4.Centro De Estudos Médicos Da União Do VegetalSão PauloBrasil
  5. 5.Department of Psychiatry, Bldg. D-6Harbor/UCLA Medical CenterTorranceUSA

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