Psilocybin spurs rapid growth of new nerve connections in mice

  • Chronic stress and depression are known to reduce the number of nerve connections in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
  • Drugs with rapid antidepressant effects, including ketamine and classic psychedelics such as psilocybin, may work by promoting the growth of new nerve connections.
  • A new study in living mice found that a single dose of psilocybin increased the density and size of nerve protrusions called dendritic spines in the rodents’ prefrontal cortices.
  • The changes occurred within 24 hours and lasted at least 1 month.

Written by James Kingsland on July 9, 2021 — Fact checked by Ferdinand Lali, Ph.D.

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