Interesting Results of Psilocybin Delivered to Brain Tissue

Interesting Consequences of Psilocybin Delivered to Brain Tissue
Interesting Consequences of Psilocybin Delivered to Brain Tissue

In an epileptic patient who needs brain surgery, it is desired to access the areas that cause seizures. For this reason, neurosurgeons often remove a piece of tissue the size of a sugar cube from the top layer of the brain. Due to its remote location from the diseased area, this removed mass is routinely disposed of as medical garbage.

But this brain piece, Jonathan Ting, Ph.D. for neuroscientists such as "the most valuable piece of matter in the universe".

Ting, an Associate Investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, a branch of the Allen Institute, and his group are using patient donated brain tissue taken during surgery to learn more about how living human brain cells work.

Other researchers at the Ting and Allen Institute for Brain Science want to create a "periodic table" of different types of brain cells so that they can classify the brain according to its biological components.

Scientists can learn more about learning, consciousness, and even the cellular processes behind psychedelic experiences to better grasp larger mental events.

Brain samples have been carried by Ting and his colleagues on journeys with magic mushrooms for the past two years.

The team's goal is to find out how certain neurons respond to the drug by dosing psilocybin, the hallucinogenic mushroom that causes hallucinations, into the removed parts of the brain.

According to Ting, according to increasing research and ongoing clinical trials, psilocybin may be a possible treatment for depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental illnesses. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying the hallucinogenic effects of psilocybin or its potential to treat psychiatric problems in the human brain.

How Do Drugs Act on Certain Types of Brain Cells?

Without comprehensive knowledge of the drug's molecular actions, Ting said, "it's striking that all these studies are going on in the clinic on human patients." “Our plan is to investigate these at the single-cell level and try to understand how these drugs act on certain types of brain cells.”

According to Meanhwan Kim, Ting's colleague and neuroscientist at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, psilocybin binds to specific serotonin receptors on different brain cells and mimics serotonin, a neurochemical messenger that cells produce to regulate mood.

To examine what happens to cells exposed to the drug, the scientists used a method called Patch-seq to record the electrical activity, 3D structure and gene expression of individual neurons washed with psilocybin.

Contrary to his initial predictions, some of the cells containing the particular serotonin receptor were activated, some were deactivated, and most importantly, the majority did not respond to the psychedelic substance.

In addition to collecting cells from various parts of the brain, the researchers are now expanding their research to study the same neurons in mice, creating new tools to focus on these specific cell types. These receptors are located in various parts of the brain.
The team reported their findings at the Society for Neuroscience 2022 meeting in San Diego. While scientists do not currently have an explanation for these results, raising awareness of the distinctive cellular mechanisms of psilocybin should encourage further study of the drug's action and potential applications.

Psilocybin, a chemical classified as Schedule I under the Controlled Substances Act, is considered to be highly addictive and difficult to obtain for medical use and study. The team has to store the drug in a password-protected vault in the lab because it took more than a year for the researchers to obtain a license to use the drug.

But according to Christof Koch, director of the Allen Institute's MindScope Program and a member of the group that studies the effects of the drug, there is a "renaissance in psychedelic research" as attitudes towards psilocybin and other psychedelics change.

According to Koch, patients using the drug say that, under the guidance of psychotherapists, they lost their sense of self, felt connected to the universe, and developed a positive attitude towards life. Such processes may be at the root of psychedelics' capacity to relieve symptoms of anxiety and hopelessness.

According to Koch, as a result of these mystical experiences, “the patient can overcome his hopelessness or reframe his depression and return to a more basic mental state”. “It really does seem to restore the patient's sense of health and balance in life. This is truly magical.

Ting questions whether it is possible to separate the journey from the medicine. If that were the case, psychedelics would no longer be stigmatized. However, Koch thinks that these two features are inseparable.

“I strongly suspect you can't tell the two apart, but we don't know yet. According to Koch, the way these drugs work is mainly due to hallucinations.

It is not yet known how long these therapeutic effects last. Koch noted that many studies only examine the first six months following treatment, and further studies are needed to evaluate the long-term efficacy and safety of psilocybin. He noted that even as scientific interest and social acceptance for psychedelics increase, they should still be used with caution, as they can lead to intense experiences.

These are powerful compounds. They are powerful drugs, so they should be used with caution,” he added.

Source: neurosciencenews –

 

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