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Effects of psilocybin on functional connectivity measured with fNIRS: Insights from a single-subject pilot study


Scholkmann, Felix; Holper, Lisa; Preller, Katrin H; Vollenweider, Franz X (2019). Effects of psilocybin on functional connectivity measured with fNIRS: Insights from a single-subject pilot study. Matters:1-12.

Abstract

The serotonergic hallucinogen psilocybin has characteristic effects on human brain activity and subjective experience. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies showed alternations of functional connectivity (FC) under the influence of psilocybin in humans. No study, as yet, investigated psilocybin-induced changes in brain hemodynamics and oxygenation with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) optical neuroimaging. Our aim was to perform the first fNIRS single-subject pilot study in order to investigate the ability of fNIRS to detect changes induced by psychedelic substances. To this end, psilocybin (17 mg) was administered orally to a 31-year old man while resting-state changes in cerebral tissue hemodynamic and oxygenation were measured with fNIRS bilaterally over the frontal and occipital cortex. Measurements were performed before the intake of the substance as well as during its effective period (30 min and 60 min after intake). We observed psilocybin-induced changes in the bilateral frontal FC, bilateral occipital FC as well as right and left frontooccipital FC. In addition, the pulse rate of the subject showed non-random variations during the experiment, possibly related to psilocybin administration. This study demonstrates that fNIRS is able to detect psilocybin-induced changes in resting-state FC. The results of this initial single-subject pilot study are promising and warrants repetition with a larger number of subjects and an improved/extended fNIRS setup. We anticipate that fNIRS neuroimaging will play an important role in future studies investigating the neuronal/physiological effects of psychedelic substances in humans.

Abstract

The serotonergic hallucinogen psilocybin has characteristic effects on human brain activity and subjective experience. Previous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies showed alternations of functional connectivity (FC) under the influence of psilocybin in humans. No study, as yet, investigated psilocybin-induced changes in brain hemodynamics and oxygenation with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) optical neuroimaging. Our aim was to perform the first fNIRS single-subject pilot study in order to investigate the ability of fNIRS to detect changes induced by psychedelic substances. To this end, psilocybin (17 mg) was administered orally to a 31-year old man while resting-state changes in cerebral tissue hemodynamic and oxygenation were measured with fNIRS bilaterally over the frontal and occipital cortex. Measurements were performed before the intake of the substance as well as during its effective period (30 min and 60 min after intake). We observed psilocybin-induced changes in the bilateral frontal FC, bilateral occipital FC as well as right and left frontooccipital FC. In addition, the pulse rate of the subject showed non-random variations during the experiment, possibly related to psilocybin administration. This study demonstrates that fNIRS is able to detect psilocybin-induced changes in resting-state FC. The results of this initial single-subject pilot study are promising and warrants repetition with a larger number of subjects and an improved/extended fNIRS setup. We anticipate that fNIRS neuroimaging will play an important role in future studies investigating the neuronal/physiological effects of psychedelic substances in humans.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Neonatology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2019
Deposited On:06 Feb 2020 08:54
Last Modified:06 Feb 2020 08:54
Publisher:ScienceMatters AG
ISSN:2297-8240
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://sciencematters.io/articles/201911000002/authors

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