Concept

Ketamine and psilocybin are rapidly-acting compounds being studied for their long-lasting beneficial effects in the treatment of depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric disorders. Interestingly, while these two compounds initially act on different receptor targets, they nevertheless share several potentially important downstream features, such as their stimulation of an acute stress response and altered perceptual state, as well as their ability to induce changes in the structure and function of hippocampal and prefrontal cortical neurons.

To better understand how these shared mechanisms might contribute to their apparent therapeutic effects, this study uses mice as a model to measure and manipulate acute stress-associated hormonal release arising from ketamine or psilocybin administration across different environmental contexts, and assesses the impact of this stress associated signaling on both functional changes in neuronal connectivity and behavioral measures of anxiety, learning, and reward.

Dr. Cody Wenthur's talk on Psychedelics as Catalysts for Change for UW's Wednesday Nite @ The Lab lecture series