Psilocybin “Demonstrated Pronounced Pro-Social and Antidepressant Effects” in New Study

A newly published study investigated the mechanisms behind the efficacy of psilocybin in treating treatment-resistant depression.

The study was published in the journal Psychopharmacology as well as published online by the US National Library of Medicine with the title Unraveling psilocybin’s therapeutic potential: behavioral and neuroplasticity insights in Wistar-Kyoto and Wistar male rat models of treatment-resistant depression.

“Our study aimed to unravel the unknown mechanisms behind the exceptional efficacy of Psilocybin (PSI) in treating treatment-resistant depression (TRD)”, states the study’s abstract. “Focusing on Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats with a TRD phenotype and Wistar (WIS) rats as a normative comparison, we investigated behavioral and neuroplasticity-related responses to PSI, striving to shed light on the distinctive features of its antidepressant effects.”

Conducting post-acute and extended assessments after a single PSI administration, researchers “applied behavioral tests and biochemical analyses to measure serum BDNF levels and neuroplasticity-related parameters in the prefrontal cortex. Statistical analyses were deployed to discern significant differences between the rat strains and assess the impact of PSI on behavioral and biochemical outcomes.”

The study’s findings “uncovered significant behavioral disparities between WKY and WIS rats, indicating passive behavior and social withdrawal in the former.” Researchers found that “PSI demonstrated pronounced pro-social and antidepressant effects in both strains, each with its distinctive temporal trajectory. Notably, we identified strain-specific variations in BDNF-related signaling and observed the modulation of Arc expression in WKY rats.”

The study concludes:

Our study delineated mood-related behavioral nuances between WKY and WIS rat strains, underscoring the antidepressant and pro-social properties of PSI in both groups. The distinct temporal patterns of observed changes and the identified strain-specific neuroplasticity alterations provide valuable insights into the TRD phenotype and the mechanisms underpinning the efficacy of PSI.

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