Phencyclidine, lysergic acid diethylamide, and mescaline: cerebral artery spasms and hallucinogenic activity

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Science  29 May 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4498, pp. 1051-1052
DOI: 10.1126/science.7195070


Phencyclidine (PCP), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and mescaline produced potent contractile responses on isolated basilar and middle cerebral arteries, where, in terms of potency, LSD greater than mescaline greater than PCP. All three drugs produced cerebrovasospasm in a concentration range which parallels that needed for their psychotomimetic and intoxicating actions. Specific receptors for PCP, which subserve contraction and differ from those for LSD and mescaline, are found in cerebral arteries. Concentrations of PCP that produced near-maximum contractile responses on cerebral arteries were similar to those in the blood and brain of human subjects who had died from PCP overdoses. A specific calcium antagonist, verapamil, readily prevented (and reversed) PCP-induced vasospasm. This study provides direct evidence for PCP receptors in cerebral blood vessels, the biologic action of which can be reversed by a calcium antagonist; the clinical use of the latter could prove invaluable in treating PCP-intoxicated victims.