Catalysts for change: the cellular neurobiology of psychedelics

This review (2021) examines the psychoplastogenic effects (neural plasticity) of psychedelics and summarizes the current understanding of the cellular and subcellular mechanisms underlying their ability to produce long-term structural changes and reduce inflammation.

Abstract

“The resurgence of interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for treating psychiatric disorders has rekindled efforts to elucidate their mechanism of action. In this Perspective, we focus on the ability of psychedelics to promote neural plasticity, postulated to be central to their therapeutic activity. We begin with a brief overview of the history and behavioural effects of classical psychedelics. We then summarize our current understanding of the cellular and subcellular mechanisms underlying these drugs’ behavioural effects, their effects on neural plasticity, and the roles of stress and inflammation in the acute and long-term effects of psychedelics. The signalling pathways activated by psychedelics couple to numerous potential mechanisms for producing long-term structural changes in the brain, a complexity that has barely begun to be disentangled. This complexity is mirrored by that of the neural mechanisms underlying psychiatric disorders and the transformations of consciousness, mood, and behaviour that psychedelics promote in health and disease. Thus, beyond changes in the brain, psychedelics catalyze changes in our understanding of the neural basis of psychiatric disorders, as well as consciousness and human behaviour.”

Authors: Matthew I. Banks, Zarmeen Zahid, Nathan T. Jones, Ziyad W. Sultan & Cody J. Wenthur

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Catalysts for change: the cellular neurobiology of psychedelics

https://doi.org/10.1091/mbc.e20-05-0340

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Published in
Molecular Biology of the Cell
May 27, 2021
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Study details

Topics studied
Neuroscience

Study characteristics
Literature Review

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