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In vitro Interaction of LSD with Purified Calf Thymus DNA

Naturevolume 222pages11701172 (1969) | Download Citation



THE observation of broken chromosomes in test animals and humans treated with the hallucinogen lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) has been well documented1–8. Although there has been some speculation about the mode of action of the drug, no specific studies of the mechanism of LSD-induced chromosomal damage have, as yet, been presented. Such studies would be most useful in determining whether LSD interacts directly with the chromosome which becomes broken or whether chromosomal breakage is the result of a series of biochemical events begun by LSD at some site distant from the chromosome. This communication describes circular dichroism experiments which indicate that LSD interacts directly with purified calf thymus DNA, probably by intercalation, causing conformational changes in the DNA. It is suggested that this observed interaction may serve as a model for the action of LSD on the chromosomal material of intact cells.

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  1. Division of Endocrinology, Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, New York, New York



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