Neuroendocrine and neurochemical effects of acute ibogaine administration: a time course evaluation

Abstract

Ibogaine (IBO) is an indole alkaloid that is reported to facilitate drug abstinence in substance abusers. Despite considerable investigation, the mechanism of IBO action in vivo and its suitability as a treatment for drug addiction remains unclear. The present study was designed to evaluate the time-course effects of acute IBO on neuroendocrine and neurochemical indices. Adult male rats were treated with i.p. saline or 50 mg/kg IBO and sacrificed 15, 30, 60, 120 min and 24 h later. Trunk blood was collected for hormone measures and brains were dissected for neurochemical analyses. IBO produced a rapid elevation in plasma prolactin that declined to control levels by 60 min. Corticosterone levels increased 15 min after drug administration, continued to increase for 120 min, but returned to control levels 24 h after dosing. IBO decreased dopamine (DA) concentrations in the striatum and frontal cortex at 30, 60 and 120 min after injection while DA metabolites, 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC) and homovanillic acid (HVA), were elevated over the same time period. 24 h after IBO, DOPAC concentrations in striatum and HVA levels in the frontal cortex were below control values. Serotonin (5-HT) and its metabolite 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid (5-HIAA) were decreased at 60 min after IBO administration only in the striatum. These data indicate that a single injection of IBO produces a spectrum of effects that includes: (1) elevation of plasma prolactin and corticosterone, (2) short- and long-term effects on DA neurotransmission, and (3) modest, transient effects of 5-HT neurotransmission. The effects of IBO reported herein may have relevance to the anti-addictive properties of this drug, and this proposal warrants further investigation.

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