Transcriptomics-informed large-scale cortical model captures topography of pharmacological neuroimaging effects of LSD

This brain modelling study finds the topographic effects (where) LSD changes functional connectivity (FC) in the brain, via the modulation of serotonin 2A pyramidal cells.


“Psychoactive drugs can transiently perturb brain physiology while preserving brain structure. The role of physiological state in shaping neural function can therefore be investigated through neuroimaging of pharmacologically-induced effects. This paradigm has revealed that neural and experiential effects of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) are attributable to its agonist activity at the serotonin-2A receptor. Here, we integrate brainwide transcriptomics with biophysically-based large-scale circuit modeling to simulate acute neuromodulatory effects of LSD on human cortical dynamics. Our model captures the topographic effects of LSD-induced changes in cortical BOLD functional connectivity. These findings suggest that serotonin-2A-mediated modulation of pyramidal cell gain is the circuit mechanism through which LSD alters cortical functional topography. Individual-subject fitting reveals that the model captures patterns of individual neural differences in drug response that predict altered states of consciousness. This work establishes a framework for linking molecular-level manipulations to salient changes in brain function, with implications for precision medicine.”

Authors: Joshua B. Burt, Katrin H. Preller, Murat Demirtas, Jie Lisa Ji, John H. Krystal, Franz X. Vollenweider, Alan Anticevic & John D. Murray

Study details

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Topics studied

Study characteristics
Theory Building Bio/Neuro


Authors associated with this publication with profiles on Blossom

Katrin Preller
Katrin Preller is one of the upcoming researchers, currently at the University of Zurich and Yale University, and is focused on the neurobiology and pharmacology of psychedelics.

Franz Vollenweider
Franz X. Vollenweider is one of the pioneering psychedelics researchers, currently at the University of Zurich. He is also the director of the Heffter (sponsored) Research Center Zürich for Consciousness Studies (HRC-ZH).


Institutes associated with this publication

University of Zurich
Within the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics at the University of Zurich, Dr Mialn Scheidegger is leading team conducting psychedelic research and therapy development.

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