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Cozzi NV, Mavlyutov TA, Thompson MA, Ruoho AE. 
“Indolethylamine N-methyltransferase expression in primate nervous tissue”. 
Soc. Neurosci.. 2011;37:840.19.
N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a naturally-occurring indole psychedelic agent found in plants, animals, and humans, but its biological role has not been fully characterized. DMT binds to numerous sites including receptors for serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, histamine, sigma receptors, and uptake transporters for dopamine, serotonin and the synaptic vesicle transporter VMAT2. DMT has been proposed to act as a neurotransmitter in humans and to be involved in psychosis, dreaming, near-death experiences, and spiritual exaltation. DMT is biosynthesized from tryptamine through the actions of the enzyme indolethylamine Nmethyltransferase (INMT). Using S-adenosyl methionine as the methyl donor, INMT catalyzes the addition of methyl groups to tryptamine and analogous indole alkylamines (Fig. 1).

Human INMT was cloned and sequenced in 1999 (MA Thompson, E Moon, UJ Kim, J Xu, MJ Siciliano, RM Weinshilboum. Genomics, 61, 285-297 [1999]). Assessment of human INMT expression by Northern blot analysis in 35 tissues revealed widespread INMT mRNA distribution with high levels in thyroid, adrenal gland, and lung. However, in the central nervous system, INMT mRNA was detected only in the spinal cord, but not in whole brain or in seven brain subregions. This observation suggested that INMT may not be involved in DMT biosynthesis in the brain and calls into question the role, if any, of endogenous DMT in producing exceptional mental states. To explore the possibility that INMT is expressed in nervous tissue but that in some conditions, INMT mRNA is not detectable by Northern analysis, we probed three primate nervous system tissues with antibodies to INMT itself.
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