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Single dose of a psychedelic drug alters neurons’ structure and gene environment

Chang Lu, Ph.D., and Doctoral Student Bohan Zhu
Bohan Zhu (left), chemical engineering doctoral student, and Chang Lu (right), the Fred W. Bull Professor of Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech.

November 8th, 2021

Scientists from the VCU School of Medicine and Virginia Tech School of Engineering are exploring how psychedelic drugs work in the brain and how long these changes might last.

In a paper featured on the cover of the October 19 issue of the journal Cell Reports, a team of researchers led by Mario de la Fuente Revenga, Ph.D., and Javier González-Maeso, Ph.D., demonstrated that a single dose of a psychedelic drug related to psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in so-called “magic mushrooms,” produces fast, long-lasting antidepressant effects in mice. These effects were correlated by collaborators Chang Lu, Ph.D., and doctoral student Bohan Zhu from Virginia Tech with several structural and genetic changes that occurred in neurons, some of which also overlapped with genetic risks for certain psychiatric conditions.


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