Ibotenic acid is a psychoactive compound found in the mushroom Amanita muscaria.1 It is a prodrug of another compound in this species, muscimol. Muscimol is formed by the decarboxylation of ibotenic acid.
The Chemistry of Ibotenic Acid
Ibotenic acid is a conformationally-restricted isoxazole analog of the amino acid and excitatory neurotransmitter glutamic acid.2 It is a polar compound that is readily soluble in water.1
The Pharmacology of Ibotenic Acid
Ibotenic acid is an agonist of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) and trans-1-Amino-1,3 dicarboxycyclopentane (metabotropic quisqualate Qm) receptors.1 A 1992 study by Zinkand et al. found that the neurotoxicity of ibotenic acid comes from its activation of the NMDA receptors.3
The Applications and Potential of Ibotenic Acid
Ibotenic acid is used to create experimental brain lesions in rodents.4,5 Another application is for creating a rodent model for studying Alzheimer’s disease.6 Rats injected with ibotenic acid show a loss of neurons via the hippocampal performant pathway. These neuronal losses resemble the brain defects seen in Alzheimer’s disease.
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