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      Time-resolved network control analysis links reduced control energy under DMT with the serotonin 2a receptor, signal diversity, and subjective experience


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          Psychedelics offer a profound window into the functioning of the human brain and mind through their robust acute effects on perception, subjective experience, and brain activity patterns. In recent work using a receptor-informed network control theory framework, we demonstrated that the serotonergic psychedelics lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin flatten the brain’s control energy landscape in a manner that covaries with more dynamic and entropic brain activity. Contrary to LSD and psilocybin, whose effects last for hours, the serotonergic psychedelic N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) rapidly induces a profoundly immersive altered state of consciousness lasting less than 20 minutes, allowing for the entirety of the drug experience to be captured during a single resting-state fMRI scan. Using network control theory, which quantifies the amount of input necessary to drive transitions between functional brain states, we integrate brain structure and function to map the energy trajectories of 14 individuals undergoing fMRI during DMT and placebo. Consistent with previous work, we find that global control energy is reduced following injection with DMT compared to placebo. We additionally show longitudinal trajectories of global control energy correlate with longitudinal trajectories of EEG signal diversity (a measure of entropy) and subjective ratings of drug intensity. We interrogate these same relationships on a regional level and find that the spatial patterns of DMT’s effects on these metrics are correlated with serotonin 2a receptor density (obtained from separately acquired PET data). Using receptor distribution and pharmacokinetic information, we were able to successfully recapitulate the effects of DMT on global control energy trajectories, demonstrating a proof-of-concept for the use of control models in predicting pharmacological intervention effects on brain dynamics.

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            Information processing in the cerebral cortex involves interactions among distributed areas. Anatomical connectivity suggests that certain areas form local hierarchical relations such as within the visual system. Other connectivity patterns, particularly among association areas, suggest the presence of large-scale circuits without clear hierarchical relations. In this study the organization of networks in the human cerebrum was explored using resting-state functional connectivity MRI. Data from 1,000 subjects were registered using surface-based alignment. A clustering approach was employed to identify and replicate networks of functionally coupled regions across the cerebral cortex. The results revealed local networks confined to sensory and motor cortices as well as distributed networks of association regions. Within the sensory and motor cortices, functional connectivity followed topographic representations across adjacent areas. In association cortex, the connectivity patterns often showed abrupt transitions between network boundaries. Focused analyses were performed to better understand properties of network connectivity. A canonical sensory-motor pathway involving primary visual area, putative middle temporal area complex (MT+), lateral intraparietal area, and frontal eye field was analyzed to explore how interactions might arise within and between networks. Results showed that adjacent regions of the MT+ complex demonstrate differential connectivity consistent with a hierarchical pathway that spans networks. The functional connectivity of parietal and prefrontal association cortices was next explored. Distinct connectivity profiles of neighboring regions suggest they participate in distributed networks that, while showing evidence for interactions, are embedded within largely parallel, interdigitated circuits. We conclude by discussing the organization of these large-scale cerebral networks in relation to monkey anatomy and their potential evolutionary expansion in humans to support cognition.
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              Advances in functional and structural MR image analysis and implementation as FSL.

              The techniques available for the interrogation and analysis of neuroimaging data have a large influence in determining the flexibility, sensitivity, and scope of neuroimaging experiments. The development of such methodologies has allowed investigators to address scientific questions that could not previously be answered and, as such, has become an important research area in its own right. In this paper, we present a review of the research carried out by the Analysis Group at the Oxford Centre for Functional MRI of the Brain (FMRIB). This research has focussed on the development of new methodologies for the analysis of both structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging data. The majority of the research laid out in this paper has been implemented as freely available software tools within FMRIB's Software Library (FSL).

                Author and article information

                Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
                12 May 2023
                : 2023.05.11.540409
                [1 ]Department of Computational Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, USA
                [2 ]Center for Psychedelic Research, Department of Brain Science, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom
                [3 ]Montreal Neurological Institute, Montreal, Canada
                [4 ]Unit for Pharmacokinetics and Drug Metabolism, Department of Pharmacology, Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
                [5 ]Psychedelics Division, Neuroscape, University of California San Francisco, USA
                [6 ]Department of Radiology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, USA
                Author notes
                [* ] Corresponding author: sps253@ 123456cornell.edu (S. Parker Singleton)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator.



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