Imperial College London

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Research Fellow



+44 (0)20 7594 7992r.carhart-harris




Miss Bruna Cunha +44 (0)20 7594 7992




Burlington DanesHammersmith Campus






BibTex format

author = {Carhart-Harris, RL and Roseman, L and Bolstridge, M and Demetriou, L and Pannekoek, JN and Wall, MB and Tanner, M and Kaelen, M and McGonigle, J and Murphy, K and Leech, R and Curran, HV and Nutt, DJ},
doi = {10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
title = {Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms},
url = {},
volume = {7},
year = {2017}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - Psilocybin with psychological support is showing promise as a treatment model in psychiatry but its therapeutic mechanisms are poorly understood. Here, cerebral blood flow (CBF) and blood oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) were measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) before and after treatment with psilocybin (serotonin agonist) for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Quality pre and post treatment fMRI data were collected from 16 of 19 patients. Decreased depressive symptoms were observed in all 19 patients at 1-week post-treatment and 47% met criteria for response at 5 weeks. Whole-brain analyses revealed post-treatment decreases in CBF in the temporal cortex, including the amygdala. Decreased amygdala CBF correlated with reduced depressive symptoms. Focusing on a priori selected circuitry for RSFC analyses, increased RSFC was observed within the default-mode network (DMN) post-treatment. Increased ventromedial prefrontal cortex-bilateral inferior lateral parietal cortex RSFC was predictive of treatment response at 5-weeks, as was decreased parahippocampal-prefrontal cortex RSFC. These data fill an important knowledge gap regarding the post-treatment brain effects of psilocybin, and are the first in depressed patients. The post-treatment brain changes are different to previously observed acute effects of psilocybin and other ‘psychedelics’ yet were related to clinical outcomes. A ‘reset’ therapeutic mechanism is proposed.
AU - Carhart-Harris,RL
AU - Roseman,L
AU - Bolstridge,M
AU - Demetriou,L
AU - Pannekoek,JN
AU - Wall,MB
AU - Tanner,M
AU - Kaelen,M
AU - McGonigle,J
AU - Murphy,K
AU - Leech,R
AU - Curran,HV
AU - Nutt,DJ
DO - 10.1038/s41598-017-13282-7
PY - 2017///
SN - 2045-2322
TI - Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms
T2 - Scientific Reports
UR -
UR -
VL - 7
ER -