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The Hallucinogen N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) Is an Endogenous Sigma-1 Receptor Regulator

Science  13 Feb 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5916, pp. 934-937
DOI: 10.1126/science.1166127

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Abstract

The sigma-1 receptor is widely distributed in the central nervous system and periphery. Originally mischaracterized as an opioid receptor, the sigma-1 receptor binds a vast number of synthetic compounds but does not bind opioid peptides; it is currently considered an orphan receptor. The sigma-1 receptor pharmacophore includes an alkylamine core, also found in the endogenous compound N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT). DMT acts as a hallucinogen, but its receptor target has been unclear. DMT bound to sigma-1 receptors and inhibited voltage-gated sodium ion (Na+) channels in both native cardiac myocytes and heterologous cells that express sigma-1 receptors. DMT induced hypermobility in wild-type mice but not in sigma-1 receptor knockout mice. These biochemical, physiological, and behavioral experiments indicate that DMT is an endogenous agonist for the sigma-1 receptor.

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