4
$\begingroup$

Edit: If somebody (anybody) wants to add an answer so the bounty won't go to waste, please do so! The comments have already introduced me to the Kegg metabolism database, some interesting papers, and an amazing chapter on the biochemistry of cats. Thus, this question has been useful to me (and hopefully, to the community as well).

There is a question on Skeptics.SE that asks if "cats have a chemical in their brains that resembles LSD." I haven't found any similar claim online, but started wondering: 1. Do cats produce (natural) compounds that structurally resemble LSD? 2. Do cats produce (natural) compounds that functionally resemble LSD? Quickly glancing at the structure of LSD, it contains an indole ring. Hovering over the various indoles here found one substance that occurred in animals and was consumed as a psychedelic drug.

There is a paper that writes:

N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is an indole alkaloid widely found in plants and animals. It is best known for producing brief and intense psychedelic effects when ingested. Increasing evidence suggests that endogenous DMT plays important roles for a number of processes in the periphery and central nervous system, and may act as a neurotransmitter.

The paper also proposed the role of DMT as a neurotransmitter. However, I haven't been able to confirm DMT is naturally produced by cats.

Do cats produce DMT? If so, what is the purpose of DMT in the cat?

$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I suggest you try to answer this yourself using the Kegg metabolism datatbase. I couldn't find anything for Dimethyltryptamine, but searching for tryptamine gave eight pathways. I suggest you inspect each to see if there are any related compounds. If you find them, then check which organism the pathway is present in. Even if your search is negative, you'll benefit from the experience. Good luck! $\endgroup$ – David Apr 13 at 20:09
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Why are relevant parts of the question hidden as "spoiler"? $\endgroup$ – Arsak Apr 27 at 12:22
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Why are cats so important here? $\endgroup$ – AliceD Apr 27 at 22:24
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @AliceD I guess I can only say, "I'm curious about cats." And that's the truth, and a bad explanation. $\endgroup$ – user51103 Apr 28 at 10:42
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ For anyone interested in the peculiar biochemistry of cats see "Carnivores, Herbivores and Omnivores" in "Blondes in Venetian Paintings, the Nine-Banded Armadillo, and Other Essays in Biochemistry : Konrad Bloch", a great, great reference by a Nobel prize winner and available through the internet archive here $\endgroup$ – user1136 Apr 28 at 12:23

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy