Facilitation of memory retrieval by the “anti-addictive” alkaloid, ibogaine

Abstract

Anecdotal observations in humans indicate that indole alkaloid ibogaine may have anti-addictive properties. It has been suggested that the therapeutic action of ibogaine may depend upon facilitated access to the past experiences, purportedly influencing the initiation of drug addiction. To determine if ibogaine may facilitate memory retrieval, rats were trained in the Morris maze spatial navigation task. It has been found that ibogaine (0.25 or 2.5 mg/kg) or O-desmethyl-ibogaine (2.5 mg/kg) but not t-Butyl ibogaine, administered just before the test trial, facilitated spatial memory retrieval compared to rats receiving placebo treatment. It is concluded that although previously described NMDA receptor antagonistic properties of ibogaine may represent a locus for at least some of its actions, other mechanisms, involving facilitation of memory retrieval may be of importance for its anti-addictive effects.

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