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Papers of the Week

2022 Jan-Dec

Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks)


Neuroimaging Correlates of Treatment Response with Psychedelics in Major Depressive Disorder: A Systematic Review.


Kuburi S, Di Passa A-M, Tassone VK, Mahmood R, Lalovic A, Ladha KS, Dunlop K, Rizvi S, Demchenko I, Bhat V
Chronic Stress (Thousand Oaks). 2022 Jan-Dec; 6:24705470221115342.
PMID: 35936944.


Preliminary evidence supports the use of psychedelics for major depressive disorder (MDD). However, less attention has been given to the neural mechanisms behind their effects. We conducted a systematic review examining the neuroimaging correlates of antidepressant response following psychedelic interventions for MDD. Through MEDLINE, Embase, and APA PsycINFO, 187 records were identified and 42 articles were screened. Six published studies and one conference abstract were included. Five ongoing trials were included from subjective outcomesTrials.gov. Our search covered several psychedelics, though included studies were specific to psilocybin, ayahuasca, and lysergic acid diethylamide. Three psilocybin studies noted amygdala activity and functional connectivity (FC) alterations that correlated with treatment response. Two psilocybin studies reported that FC changes in the medial and ventromedial prefrontal cortices correlated with treatment response. Two trials from a single study reported global decreases in brain network modularity which correlated with antidepressant response. One ayahuasca study reported increased activity in the limbic regions following treatment. Preliminary evidence suggests that the default mode and limbic networks may be a target for future research on the neural mechanisms of psychedelics. More data is required to corroborate these initial findings as the evidence summarized in this review is based on four datasets.