Oxidation of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) by peroxidases: a new metabolic pathway

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Oxidation of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) by peroxidases: a new metabolic pathway

  • Neutrophils
  • Leukocytes
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Myeloperoxidase
  • Indole Compounds
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide
  • Lsd Metabolism


Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a potent hallucinogen that is primarily metabolized to 2-oxo-3-hydroxy-LSD (O-H-LSD) and N-desmethyl-LSD (nor-LSD) by cytochrome P450 complex liver enzymes. Due to its extensive metabolism, there still is an interest in the identification of new metabolites and new routes of its metabolism in humans. In the present study, we investigated whether LSD could be a substrate for horseradish peroxidase or myeloperoxidase (MPO). Using liquid chromatography coupled to UV detection and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC-UV-ESI-MS), we found that both peroxidases were capable of metabolizing LSD to the same compounds that have been observed in vivo (i.e., O-H-LSD and nor-LSD). In addition, we found another major metabolite, N,N-diethyl-7-formamido-4-methyl-6-oxo-2,3,4,4a,5,6-hexahydrobenzo[f]quinoline-2-carboxamide (FOMBK), which is an opened indolic ring compound. Hydrolysis of FOMBK led to the deformylated compound 7-amino-N,N-diethyl-4-methyl-6-oxo-2,3,4,4a,5,6-hexahydrobenzo[f]quinoline-2-carboxamide. The reactions of LSD with the peroxidases were chemiluminescent and sensitive to inhibition by reactive oxygen scavengers, which indicated that the classic peroxidase cycle is involved in this new alternative metabolic pathway. Considering that MPO is abundant in immune cells and also present in the central nervous system, the degradation pathway described in this study suggests a possible route of LSD metabolism that may occur concurrently with the in vivo reaction catalyzed by the cytochrome P450 system.

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