RATIONALE: Disruption of auditory event-related evoked potentials (ERPs) P300 and mismatch negativity (MMN), electrophysiological markers of attentive and pre-attentive cognitive processing, is repeatedly described in psychosis and schizophrenia. Similar findings were observed in a glutamatergic model of psychosis, but the role of serotonergic 5-HT2A receptors in information processing is less clear. OBJECTIVES: We studied ERPs in a serotonergic model of psychosis, induced by psilocybin, a psychedelic with 5-HT2A/C agonistic properties, in healthy volunteers. METHODS: Twenty subjects (10M/10F) were given 0.26 mg/kg of psilocybin orally in a placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over design. ERPs (P300, MMN) were registered during the peak of intoxication. Correlations between measured electrophysiological variables and psilocin serum levels and neuropsychological effects were also analyzed. RESULTS: Psilocybin induced robust psychedelic effects and psychotic-like symptoms, decreased P300 amplitude (p = 0.009) but did not affect the MMN. Psilocybin’s disruptive effect on P300 correlated with the intensity of the psychedelic state, which was dependent on the psilocin serum levels. We also observed a decrease in N100 amplitude (p = 0.039) in the P300 paradigm and a negative correlation between P300 and MMN amplitude (p = 0.014). CONCLUSIONS: Even though pre-attentive cognition (MMN) was not affected, processing at the early perceptual level (N100) and in higher-order cognition (P300) was significantly disrupted by psilocybin. Our results have implications for the role of 5-HT2A receptors in altered information processing in psychosis and schizophrenia.
Bravermanova, A., et al. (2018). “Psilocybin disrupts sensory and higher order cognitive processing but not pre-attentive cognitive processing-study on P300 and mismatch negativity in healthy volunteers.” Psychopharmacology (Berl) 235(2): 491-503.