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Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms

Carhart-Harris, RL; Roseman, L; Bolstridge, M; Demetriou, L; Pannekoek, JN; Wall, MB; Tanner, M; ... Nutt, DJ; + view all (2017) Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms. Scientific Reports , 7 , Article 13187. 10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7. Green open access

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Abstract

Psilocybin with psychological support is showing promise as a treatment model in psychiatry but its therapeutic mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, cerebral blood flow (CBF) and blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) were measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after treatment with psilocybin (serotonin agonist) for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Quality pre and post treatment fMRI data were collected from 16 of 19 patients. Decreased depressive symptoms were observed in all 19 patients at 1-week post-treatment and 47% met criteria for response at 5 weeks. Whole-brain analyses revealed post-treatment decreases in CBF in the temporal cortex, including the amygdala. Decreased amygdala CBF correlated with reduced depressive symptoms. Focusing on a priori selected circuitry for RSFC analyses, increased RSFC was observed within the default-mode network (DMN) post-treatment. Increased ventromedial prefrontal cortex-bilateral inferior lateral parietal cortex RSFC was predictive of treatment response at 5-weeks, as was decreased parahippocampal-prefrontal cortex RSFC. These data fill an important knowledge gap regarding the post-treatment brain effects of psilocybin, and are the first in depressed patients. The post-treatment brain changes are different to previously observed acute effects of psilocybin and other ‘psychedelics’ yet were related to clinical outcomes. A ‘reset’ therapeutic mechanism is proposed.

Type: Article
Title: Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7
Language: English
Additional information: © Te Author(s) 2017. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, STATE FUNCTIONAL CONNECTIVITY, DEFAULT-MODE NETWORK, POSITRON-EMISSION-TOMOGRAPHY, LIFE-THREATENING CANCER, PREFRONTAL CORTEX, MAJOR DEPRESSION, ELECTROCONVULSIVE-THERAPY, HEALTHY-VOLUNTEERS, PSYCHEDELIC DRUGS, DISORDER
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10036190
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