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Alpha-Methylserotonin

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Alpha-Methylserotonin

α-Methylserotonin (αMS), also known as α-methyl-5-hydroxytryptamine (α-methyl-5-HT) or 5-hydroxy-α-methyltryptamine (5-HO-αMT), is a tryptamine derivative closely related to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT). It acts as a non-selective serotonin receptor agonist and has been used extensively in scientific research to study the function of the serotonin system.[1]

Unlike serotonin, αMS is not metabolized by monoamine oxidase on account of the α-methyl substituent blocking the enzyme access to the amine, and as a result, it has a much longer half-life in comparison.[2][3] Similarly to serotonin, however, αMS poorly crosses the blood-brain-barrier due to its free hydroxyl group, and thus has only weak or no mental effects.[2]

α-Methyltryptophan (αMTP) is a prodrug to αMS which does cross the blood-brain-barrier and thus efficiently delivers αMS into the central nervous system.[4][5] As a result, αMTP acts as an orally bioavailable false or substitute neurotransmitter for serotonin, and has been suggested as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of disorders where serotonin is deficient.[4][5] The O-methylated analogue of αMS, 5-MeO-αMT, also readily enters the brain and may be used for this purpose as well.[2][6]

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