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Maternal and developmental toxicity of ayahuasca in Wistar rats.

Birth Defects Research. Part B, Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology

drug effects, embryology, Bone and Bones, abnormalities, Drinking Behavior, toxicity, Embryonic Development, Feeding Behavior, Female, Fetus, Humans, Male, Maternal Exposure, Organ Size, Pregnancy, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Reproduction, Toxicity Tests, Viscera, Animals, Banisteriopsis

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      Ayahuasca is a psychotropic plant beverage initially used by shamans throughout the Amazon region during traditional religious cult. In recent years, ayahuasca has also been used in ceremonies of a number of modern syncretic religious groups, including pregnant women. However, no documented study has been performed to evaluate the risk of developmental toxicity of ayahuasca. In the present work, maternal and developmental toxicity was evaluated in Wistar rats. Ayahuasca was administered to pregnant rats in three different doses [the equivalent typical dose (TD) administered to humans, five-fold TD and 10-fold TD] during the gestational period (6-20 days). Dams treated with the highest ayahuasca dose showed maternal toxicity with decrease of weight gain and food intake. Visceral fetal findings were observed in all treatment groups. Skeletal findings were observed in the intermediate- and high-dose groups. The fetuses deriving from the highest dose group also presented a decrease in body weight. From these results, it is possible to conclude that there is a risk of maternal and developmental toxicity following ayahuasca exposure and that the level of toxicity appears to be dose-dependent.

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