A drug known more for its psychedelic properties than its medicinal properties may help asthma patients.
(R)-DOI has been identified as a drug that can promote powerful anti-inflammatory activity within the body, according to a study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.
“These drugs are known only for their effects in the brain,” said study author Dr. Charles Nichols. “What we have demonstrated for the first time is that they are also effective in treating physiological diseases outside of the brain, a completely new and exciting role for this class of drug.”
Researchers found that activating serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT)2A receptors resulted in strong anti-inflammatory activity within gut and vascular tissue. Since (R)-DOI is a known agonist of 5-HT2A receptors, the team decided to test the psychedelic drug in an established mouse model of allergic asthma.
The drug prevented inflammation of the airways, overproduction of mucus and increased levels of airway sensitivity and also deactivated specific genes in the lung associated with the immune response. Together, these effects prevented the development of allergic asthma.
But, patients won’t have to worry about “tripping out” while on the drug, if it becomes available for humans, as researchers achieved these results by administering the drug at a concentration 50-100 times less than that which would influence the recipient’s behavior.