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PhD about the anti-depressive potentials of harmine

Dear Friends,

There seems to be a very productive moment in Brazilian biomedical researches on ayahuasca. I am pleased to announce the publication of a new text in our site about the therapeutic potentials of harmine, an alkaloid present in the vine Banisteriopsis caapi (compenent of the ayahuasca brew).

Reference: Fortunato, Jucélia Jeremias. Efeitos Comportamentais e Neuroquímcos da Harmina em Modelos Animais de Depressão. Tese de Doutorado em Bioquímica. Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, 2009.


Harmine is a β-carboline that acts on the CNS, by inhibiting the enzyme monoamine oxidase type A-MAO. This alkaloid binds with affinity to receptors on serotonin as 5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT2C subtypes and 5-HT2A receptors and imidazole (I2). The objective of this study was to investigate the physiological and behavioral effects of acute and chronic administration of harmine (5, 10 and 15 mg / kg) and imipramine (10, 20 and 30 mg / kg) using the forced swimming test (TNF) and the protocol of chronic mild stress (ECM) in an animal model. The results showed that rats treated acutely and chronically with harmine and imipramine reduced the immobility time in the TNF, and increased both climbigns and swimming time of rats compared to saline group, without affecting locomotor activity in the open field test. Both acute and chronic administration of harmine increased factor brain-derived neurotrophic (BDNF) protein levels in the rat hippocampus. Our findings demonstrated that chronic
stressful situations induced anhedonia, hypertrophy of adrenal gland weight, increase ACTH circulating levels in rats and increase BDNF protein levels. Interestingly, treatment with harmine for 7 consecutive days, reversed anhedonia, the increase of adrenal gland weight, normalized ACTH circulating levels and BDNF protein levels. Finally, these findings further support the hypothesis that harmine could be a new pharmacological tool for the treatment of depression.

Keywords: Harmine. Depression. BDNF.

Available in:

With anti-depressive greetings,

Bia Labate


  1. stagnola says

    The nasty thing in this research is the sacrifice of the lives of all those poor rodents to squeeze their hipotalamus after torturing them in many ways.
    Shame on you. I read just today a pertinent critic to these methods.

    “Besides that, rodents are not primates. You cannot test the health qualities of something meant for a primate by feeding it to rodents. Rodents do not eat the things primates eat. Their digestive systems are not suited to things humans eat.

    For example, you will not find rodents enjoying spicy foods like humans. We eat spices a lot. Rodents do not. They avoid spicy food. I think we are very well capable of digesting a lot of things rodents have trouble with. There are whole books devoted to this subject, and a whole movement devoted to ending animal lab tests.
    … We ingest far more toxins on a daily basis.”

  2. Lucian says

    Then say prayers for the mouse. Apologise for taking its life, and thank it for the contribution is has made to the advancement of terran sentient science and the evolution of all life here on earth, and pray that the good karma it creates thereby should lead it to progressively more enlightened births, and then eat the flesh or feed it to the cats, so that nothing goes to waste.

    I think the life of a few mice is worth it.

  3. stagnola says

    “I think the life of a few mice is worth it.”
    Ask yourself why then this perverse reasoning is not applicable to humans ?
    To discover what , for what advancement in science ?
    They discovered nothing new: everybodye has just forgotten this research after 5 minutes of reading it.
    It is the paradigm of science we don’t want tolerate anymore.

  4. Bella says

    There is no hell like Anhedonia. Trust and believe. I am going to take harmine for 7 days and see if it cures mine like it did those rats.

  5. Bella says

    I’m so glad those rats got out of it. No, wait, I’m not… I have Anhedonia.

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