In recent years, thrill seekers from Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and beyond traveled to South America to participate in so-called ayahuasca retreats. Their goal: to participate in a brew made from a vine Banisteriopsis caapi traditionally used by indigenous peoples for sacred religious ceremonies. Ayahuasca drinkers experience short-lived hallucinogenic episodes that many refer to as life-altering.
The drug responsible for these psychedelic visions is a molecule called dimethyltryptamine (DMT). For the first time, a team led by Michigan Medicine has discovered the widespread presence of naturally occurring DMT in the mammalian brain. The finding is the first step in studying DMT in the human brain ̵
"Not only does DMT occur in plants, but it can also be detected in mammals," says Jimo Borjigin, Ph.D. the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. Your interest in DMT came about by chance. Before studying psychedelics, her research focused on melatonin production in the pineal gland.
In the seventeenth century, the philosopher Rene Descartes argued that the pineal gland is a small pine cone-shaped organ deep in the center of the brain, the seat of the soul. Since its discovery, the pineal gland, which is referred to by some as the third eye, is mysterious. Scientists now know that it controls the production of melatonin and plays an important role in modulating the circadian rhythm or the internal clock of the body. An online search for notes to be included in a course she was teaching opened Borjigin's eyes to a thriving community still convinced of the mystical power of the pineal gland, Ph.D. with the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. In the mid-nineties, he performed an experiment in which human subjects were given DMT by intravenous injection and interviewed after the effect had subsided. In a documentary about the experiment, Strassman claims that he believes the pineal gland makes DMT and secrete it.
"I said to myself, 'Wait, I've worked on the pineal gland for years and never heard of it." She said. She turned to Strassman and asked for the source of his testimony. When Strassman admitted that it was just a hypothesis, Borjigin suggested that they work together to test it. "I thought that if DMT is an endogenous monoamine, it should be very easy to detect with a fluorescence detector."
Using a method of introducing microdialysis tubing through the pineal gland into a rat's brain, the researchers collected a sample that was analyzed and confirmed for the presence of DMT. This experiment led to a publication from the year 2013.
Borjigin, however, was not satisfied. Next she wanted to find out how and where DMT was synthesized. Her PhD student Jon Dean, lead author of the thesis, conducted an experiment using a method called in situ hybridization that uses a labeled complementary DNA strand to localize a specific RNA sequence in a tissue slice. In engineering, we found brain neurons with the two enzymes necessary for the DMT, "says Borjigin, and they were not just in the pineal gland.
"They are also found in other parts of the brain, including the neocortex and hippocampus, which are important for higher order brain functions, including learning and memory."
are featured in the journal Scientific Reports .
Their team's work has also shown that DMT levels increase in some cardiac arrest rats, a study published in 2018 by researchers in the UK said DMT simulates the near-death experience in which people report the feeling of transcending their bodies and entering another realm, Borjigin hopes to be able to carry out further investigations to investigate the function of Naturally detecting DMT levels in the brain – and what role it plays in normal brain functions.
"We do not know what it does in the brain, everything we do." In other words, we've discovered the neurons that produce this chemical in the brain at similar levels to other monoamine neurotransmitters. "
Dark matter DNA, which is active in the brain during the day-night cycle
Scientific Reports (2019). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-019-45812-w
"Mystic" psychedelic compound found in normal brains (2019, June 27)
accessed June 27, 2019
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealings for the purposes of private study or research, no
Part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.