LSD is an ambiguous substance, said to mimic psychosis and to improve mental health in people suffering from anxiety and depression. Little is known about the neuronal correlates of altered states of consciousness induced by this substance. Limited previous studies indicated profound changes in functional connectivity of resting state networks after the administration of LSD. The current investigation attempts to replicate and extend those findings in an independent sample. In a double-blind, randomized, cross-over study, 100 μg LSD and placebo were orally administered to 20 healthy participants. Resting state brain activity was assessed by functional magnetic resonance imaging. Within-network and between-network connectivity measures of ten established resting state networks were compared between drug conditions. Complementary analysis were conducted using resting state networks as sources in seed-to-voxel analyses. Acute LSD administration significantly decreased functional connectivity within visual, sensorimotor and auditory networks and the default mode network. While between-network connectivity was widely increased and all investigated networks were affected to some extent, seed-to-voxel analyses consistently indicated increased connectivity between networks and subcortical (thalamus, striatum) and cortical (precuneus, anterior cingulate cortex) hub structures. These latter observations are consistent with findings on the importance of hubs in psychopathological states, especially in psychosis, and could underlay therapeutic effects of hallucinogens as proposed by a recent model.
Müller, F., Dolder, P. C., Schmidt, A., Liechti, M. E., & Borgwardt, S. (2018). Altered network hub connectivity after acute LSD administration. NeuroImage: Clinical. 10.1016/j.nicl.2018.03.005