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Browsing by Subject "hallucinogens"

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  • Uusitalo, Salla (2020)
    Salvinorin A is a dissociative hallucinogen found in the plant Salvia divinorum. Unlike other hallucinogens it is a selective kappa-opioid receptor antagonist with no affinity to serotonin receptor 5-HT-2A. Modern case studies suggest low, regularly used salvinorin A doses might have antidepressant properties. In animal studies salvinorin A causes both pro- and antidepressant behaviour. Other hallucinogens, such as classical psychedelics psilocybin and LSD, show great promise as rapid acting antidepressants in multiple clinical trials focusing on treatment resistant depression. The most well-known rapid acting antidepressant drug ketamine belongs to the same group of dissociative hallucinogens as Salvinorin A. The use of subanesthetic ketamine has become an integral part of treatment resistant patient care in Finnish healthcare. Ketamine as well as chronic treatment with traditional antidepressants induce plasticity via BDNF-TrkB signaling. The antidepressant mechanism of classical psychedelics is mostly unknown, but they have been shown to promote neuroplasticity by increasing the expression of immediate-early genes and spinogenesis in cortical neurons. The experimental part of this master’s thesis examines the acute effects of salvinorin A on the signaling pathways associated with antidepressant response in C57BL/6 mice. To better characterize the effects of salvinorin A an open field test of 100 min was carried out in addition to phosphorylation studies. Single high dose (5-10 mg/kg) of salvinorin A causes a robust reduction in locomotor activity almost immediately after i.p. administration in mice. However it does not affect the phosphorylation of proteins associated with antidepressant response, nor does it affect BDNF m:RNA expression in mouse prefrontal cortex. According to previous studies, the therapeutic effects of salvinorin A might be present only at low doses or in regular microdosing.