Mechanisms of action of ibogaine and harmaline congeners based on radioligand binding studies

Abstract

Assays using radioligands were used to assess the actions of ibogaine and harmaline on various receptor types. Ibogaine congeners showed affinity for opiate receptors whereas harmaline and harmine did not. The Ki for coronaridine was 2.0 microM at mu-opiate receptors. The Kis for coronaridine and tabernanthine at the delta-opiate receptors were 8.1 and 3.1 microM, respectively. Ibogaine, ibogamine, coronaridine and tabernanthine had Ki values of 2.08, 2.6, 4.3 and 0.15 microM, respectively, for kappa-opiate receptors. Long-lasting, dose-dependent behavioral effects of ibogaine have been reported. The possibility that these effects were due to irreversible binding properties of ibogaine at kappa-receptors was considered; however, radioligand wash experiments showed a rapid recovery of radioligand binding after one wash. A voltage-dependent sodium channel radioligand demonstrated Ki values in the microM range for all drugs tested. Using radioligand binding assays and/or 36Cl- uptake studies, no interaction of ibogaine or harmaline with the GABA receptor-ionophore was found. The kappa-activity of ibogaine (or an active metabolite) may be responsible for its putative anti-addictive properties whereas the tremorigenic properties of ibogaine and harmaline may be due to their effects on sodium channels.

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