EEG Gamma Band Alterations and REM-like Traits Underpin the Acute Effect of the Atypical Psychedelic Ibogaine in the Rat

Joaquín González, Matias Cavelli, Santiago Castro-Zaballa, Alejandra Mondino, Adriano B. L. Tort, Nicolás Rubido, Ignacio Carrera* (Corresponding Author), Pablo Torterolo* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Ibogaine is a psychedelic alkaloid that has attracted large scientific interest because of its antiaddictive properties in observational studies in humans as well as in animal models. Its subjective effect has been described as intense, vivid dream-like experiences occurring while awake; hence, ibogaine is often referred to as an oneirogenic psychedelic. While this unique dream-like profile has been hypothesized to aid the antiaddictive effects, the electrophysiological signatures of this psychedelic state remain unknown. We previously showed in rats that ibogaine promotes a waking state with abnormal motor behavior along with a decrease in NREM and REM sleep. Here, we performed an in-depth analysis of the intracranial electroencephalogram during “ibogaine wakefulness”. We found that ibogaine induces gamma oscillations that, despite having larger power than control levels, are less coherent and less complex. Further analysis revealed that this profile of gamma activity compares to that of natural REM sleep. Thus, our results provide novel biological evidence for the association between the psychedelic state and REM sleep, contributing to the understanding of the brain mechanisms associated with the oneirogenic psychedelic effect of ibogaine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-525
Number of pages9
JournalACS Pharmacology & Translational Science
Issue number2
Early online date11 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

This study was supported by the Programa de Desarrollo de Ciencias Básicas, PEDECIBA; Agencia Nacional de Investigación e Innovación (ANII), (FCE-1-2017-1-136550) and the Comisión Sectorial de Investigación Científica (CSIC) I+D-2016-589 grant from Uruguay. J.G was supported by CAP (Comisión Académica de Posgrado). N.R. acknowledges the CSIC group grant CSIC2018 - FID 13 - Grupo ID 722. A.B.L.T. was supported by Conselho
Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) and Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Brazil


  • ibogaine
  • intracranial electroencephalogram
  • Computational neuroscience
  • sleep-wake cycle
  • psychedelics
  • computational neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'EEG Gamma Band Alterations and REM-like Traits Underpin the Acute Effect of the Atypical Psychedelic Ibogaine in the Rat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this