The Serotonin 2A Receptor Agonist 25CN-NBOH Increases Murine Heart Rate and Neck-Arterial Blood Flow in a Temperature-Dependent Manner


Serotonin 2A receptors, the molecular target of psychedelics, are expressed by neuronal and vascular cells, both of which might contribute to brain haemodynamic characteristics for the psychedelic state.


Aiming for a systemic understanding of psychedelic vasoactivity, here we investigated the effect of N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine – a new-generation agonist with superior serotonin 2A receptor selectivity – on brain-supplying neck-arterial blood flow.


We recorded core body temperature and employed non-invasive, collar-sensor based pulse oximetry in anesthetised mice to extract parameters of local blood perfusion, oxygen saturation, heart and respiration rate. Hypothesising an overlap between serotonergic pulse- and thermoregulation, recordings were done under physiological and elevated pad temperatures.


N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine (1.5 mg/kg, subcutaneous) significantly increased the frequency of heart beats accompanied by a slight elevation of neck-arterial blood flow. Increasing the animal-supporting heat-pad temperature from 37°C to 41°C enhanced the drug’s effect on blood flow while counteracting tachycardia. Additionally, N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine promoted bradypnea, which, like tachycardia, quickly reversed at the elevated pad temperature. The interrelatedness of N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine’s respiro-cardiovascular effects and thermoregulation was further corroborated by the drug selectively increasing the core body temperature at the elevated pad temperature. Arterial oxygen saturation was not affected by N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine at either temperature.


Our findings imply that selective serotonin 2A receptor activation modulates systemic cardiovascular functioning in orchestration with thermoregulation and with immediate relevance to brain-imminent neck (most likely carotid) arteries. As carotid branching is a critical last hub to channel cardiovascular output to or away from the brain, our results might have implications for the brain haemodynamics associated with psychedelia.