Ibogaine neurotoxicity: a re-evaluation. Molinari, H.H., Maisonneuve, I.M. and Glick, S.D. Brain Res 737:255-262, 1996.
is claimed to be an effective treatment for opiate and stimulant
addiction. O'Hearn and Molliver, however, showed that ibogaine
causes degeneration of cerebellar Purkinje cells in rats. The
present study re-examined cerebellar responses to the high doses
of ibogaine used by O'Hearn and Molliver (100 mg/kg or 3 x 100
mg/kg) and sought to determine when a lower dose (40 mg/kg), one
effective in reducing morphine and cocaine self-administration
produced similar responses. Purkinje cell degeneration was evaluated
with a Fink-Heimer II stain, and enhanced glial cell activity
with an antibody to glial fibrillary acidic protein. Every rat
treated with a high dose of ibogaine displayed clear evidence
of Purkinje cell degeneration. The degeneration consistently occurred
in the intermediate and lateral cerebellum, as well as the vermis.
Purkinje cells in lobes 5 and 6 were particularly susceptible.
Given the response properties of cells in these lobules, this
finding suggests long-term motor deficits produced by ibogaine-induced
degeneration should preferentially affect the head and upper extremity.
In marked contract, rats given the smaller dose of ibogaine displayed
no degeneration above the level seen in saline-treated animals.
When combined with information on other compounds, these data
suggest that the degenerative and anti-addictive properties of
ibogaine reflect different actions of the drug.
The Ibogaine Dossier