In Vitro and In Vivo Evaluation of Pellotine: A Hypnotic Lophophora Alkaloid

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Christian B M Poulie
  • Aleksandra Parka
  • Magnus Lettorp
  • Josephine Vos
  • Amanda Raaschou
  • Eline Pottie
  • Mikkel S Bundgaard
  • Louis M E Sørensen
  • Claudia R Cecchi
  • Ann Decker
  • Betina Elfving
  • Andreas C Kretschmann
  • Christophe P Stove

Quality of life is often reduced in patients with sleep-wake disorders. Insomnia is commonly treated with benzodiazepines, despite their well-known side effects. Pellotine (1), a Lophophora alkaloid, has been reported to have short-acting sleep-inducing properties in humans. In this study, we set out to evaluate various in vitro and in vivo properties of 1. We demonstrate that 1 undergoes slow metabolism; e.g. in mouse liver microsomes 65% remained, and in human liver microsomes virtually no metabolism was observed after 4 h. In mouse liver microsomes, two phase I metabolites were identified: 7-desmethylpellotine and pellotine-N-oxide. In mice, the two diastereomers of pellotine-O-glucuronide were additionally identified as phase II metabolites. Furthermore, we demonstrated by DESI-MSI that 1 readily enters the central nervous system of rodents. Furthermore, radioligand-displacement assays showed that 1 is selective for the serotonergic system and in particular the serotonin (5-HT)1D, 5-HT6, and 5-HT7 receptors, where it binds with affinities in the nanomolar range (117, 170, and 394 nM, respectively). Additionally, 1 was functionally characterized at 5-HT6 and 5-HT7, where it was found to be an agonist at the former (EC50 = 94 nM, Emax = 32%) and an inverse agonist at the latter (EC50 = 291 nM, Emax = -98.6). Finally, we demonstrated that 1 dose-dependently decreases locomotion in mice, inhibits REM sleep, and promotes sleep fragmentation. Thus, we suggest that pellotine itself, and not an active metabolite, is responsible for the hypnotic effects and that these effects are possibly mediated through modulation of serotonergic receptors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Pharmacology & Translational Science
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1492-1507
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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