S. divinorum is a psychoactive plant that has been consumed as a recreational drug of abuse in the last years. Salvinorin A is its main constituent, and is responsible for the observed psychoactive effects. Both S. divinorum and salvinorin A have become controlled drugs in several countries, but they are not listed in the Schedules of the United Nations Drug Conventions.
Regarding the effects of S. divinorum consumption, almost all studies are based on in vivo or on surveys, and there are no studies in vitro on its toxicity. Furthermore, all studies are focused on the acute toxicological effects of the plant. So, it is of utmost importance to further investigate the effects of S. divinorum and salvinorin A, particularly using in vitro models, after prolonged exposures. In this context, the present work evaluated the in vitro toxicity induced by S. divinorum or salvinorin A in six cell lines, through MTT assays and LC50 determination.
Overall, results showed that both S. divinorum and salvinorin A are cytotoxic, dose- and time-dependent. Also, Hep G2 and Caco 2 (to a lesser extent) cells showed lower sensitivity to S. divinorum and salvinorin A when compared to the other studied cell lines.
To our knowledge, this is the first work focused on the in vitro toxicity of S. divinorum and salvinorin A using a variety of cell lines, which are extensively described in literature and have been widely used in several in vitro studies.
Keywords: Cytotoxicity, Salvinorin A, Salvia divinorum, LC50, in vitro, drug of abuse.