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Pharmacopsychiatry. Editor: B. Saletu (Vienna). Original Paper

Effects of the South American Psychoactive Beverage Ayahuasca on Regional Brain Electrical Activity in Humans: A Functional Neuroimaging Study Using Low-Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography

Riba J.a · Anderer P.b · Jané F.a · Saletu B.b · Barbanoj M.J.a

Author affiliations

aÀrea d`Investigació Farmacològica, Institut de Recerca, Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Departament de Farmacologia i Terapèutica, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain; bDivision of Sleep Research and Pharmacopsychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Vienna, Vienna,Austria

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Neuropsychobiology 2004;50:89–101

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Pharmacopsychiatry. Editor: B. Saletu (Vienna). Original Paper

Published online: June 11, 2004
Issue release date: June 2004

Number of Print Pages: 13
Number of Figures: 5
Number of Tables: 5

ISSN: 0302-282X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0224 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/NPS

Abstract

Ayahuasca, a South American psychotropic plant tea obtained from Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis, combines monoamine oxidase-inhibiting β-carboline alkaloids with N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a psychedelic agent showing 5-HT2A agonist activity. In a clinical research setting, ayahuasca has demonstrated a combined stimulatory and psychedelic effect profile, as measured by subjective effect self-assessment instruments and dose-dependent changes in spontaneous brain electrical activity, which parallel the time course of subjective effects. In the present study, the spatial distribution of ayahuasca-induced changes in brain electrical activity was investigated by means of low-resolution electromagnetic tomography (LORETA). Electroencephalography recordings were obtained from 18 volunteers after the administration of a dose of encapsulated freeze-dried ayahuasca containing 0.85 mg DMT/kg body weight and placebo. The intracerebral power density distribution was computed with LORETA from spectrally analyzed data, and subjective effects were measured by means of the Hallucinogen Rating Scale (HRS). Statistically significant differences compared to placebo were observed for LORETA power 60 and 90 min after dosing, together with increases in all six scales of the HRS. Ayahuasca decreased power density in the alpha-2, delta, theta and beta-1 frequency bands. Power decreases in the delta, alpha-2 and beta-1 bands were found predominantly over the temporo-parieto-occipital junction, whereas theta power was reduced in the temporomedial cortex and in frontomedial regions. The present results suggest the involvement of unimodal and heteromodal association cortex and limbic structures in the psychological effects elicited by ayahuasca.

© 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel


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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Pharmacopsychiatry. Editor: B. Saletu (Vienna). Original Paper

Published online: June 11, 2004
Issue release date: June 2004

Number of Print Pages: 13
Number of Figures: 5
Number of Tables: 5

ISSN: 0302-282X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0224 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/NPS


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