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Effects of the 5-HT2A Agonist Psilocybin on Mismatch Negativity Generation and AX-Continuous Performance Task: Implications for the Neuropharmacology of Cognitive Deficits in Schizophrenia

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Abstract

Previously the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor (NMDAR) antagonist ketamine was shown to disrupt generation of the auditory event-related potential (ERP) mismatch negativity (MMN) and the performance of an ‘AX’-type continuous performance test (AX-CPT)–measures of auditory and visual context-dependent information processing–in a similar manner as observed in schizophrenia. This placebo-controlled study investigated effects of the 5-HT(2A) receptor agonist psilocybin on the same measures in 18 healthy volunteers. Psilocybin administration induced significant performance deficits in the AX-CPT, but failed to reduce MMN generation significantly. These results indirectly support evidence that deficient MMN generation in schizophrenia may be a relatively distinct manifestation of deficient NMDAR functioning. In contrast, secondary pharmacological effects shared by NMDAR antagonists and the 5-HT(2A) agonist (ie disruption of glutamatergic neurotransmission) may be the mechanism underlying impairments in AX-CPT performance observed during both psilocybin and ketamine administration. Comparable deficits in schizophrenia may result from independent dysfunctions of 5-HT(2A) and NMDAR-related neurotransmission.

Umbricht, D., Vollenweider, F. X., Schmid, L., Gruebel, C., Skrabo, A., Huber, T., & Koller, R. (2003). Effects of the 5-HT2A agonist psilocybin on mismatch negativity generation and AX-continuous performance task: implications for the neuropharmacology of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 28(1), 170-181. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/sj.npp.1300005
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