Imperial College London

Ms Taylor Lyons BSc, MSc, MBPsS

Faculty of MedicineDepartment of Brain Sciences

Research Postgraduate







Burlington DanesHammersmith Campus





Publication Type

4 results found

Buchborn T, Lyons T, Song C, Feilding A, Knöpfel Tet al., 2020, The serotonin 2A receptor agonist 25CN-NBOH increases murine heart rate and neck-arterial blood flow in a temperature-dependent manner., Journal of Psychopharmacology, ISSN: 0269-8811

BACKGROUND: Serotonin 2A receptors, the molecular target of psychedelics, are expressed by neuronal and vascular cells, both of which might contribute to brain haemodynamic characteristics for the psychedelic state. AIM: Aiming for a systemic understanding of psychedelic vasoactivity, here we investigated the effect of N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine - a new-generation agonist with superior serotonin 2A receptor selectivity - on brain-supplying neck-arterial blood flow. METHODS: We recorded core body temperature and employed non-invasive, collar-sensor based pulse oximetry in anesthetised mice to extract parameters of local blood perfusion, oxygen saturation, heart and respiration rate. Hypothesising an overlap between serotonergic pulse- and thermoregulation, recordings were done under physiological and elevated pad temperatures. RESULTS: N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine (1.5 mg/kg, subcutaneous) significantly increased the frequency of heart beats accompanied by a slight elevation of neck-arterial blood flow. Increasing the animal-supporting heat-pad temperature from 37°C to 41°C enhanced the drug's effect on blood flow while counteracting tachycardia. Additionally, N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine promoted bradypnea, which, like tachycardia, quickly reversed at the elevated pad temperature. The interrelatedness of N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine's respiro-cardiovascular effects and thermoregulation was further corroborated by the drug selectively increasing the core body temperature at the elevated pad temperature. Arterial oxygen saturation was not affected by N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine at either temperature. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings imply that selective serotonin 2A receptor activation modulates systemic cardiovascular functioning in orchestration with thermoregulation and with immediate relevance to brain-imminent

Journal article

Lyons T, Carhart-Harris RL, 2018, More realistic forecasting of future life events after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression, Frontiers in Psychology, Vol: 9, ISSN: 1664-1078

Background: Evidence suggests that classical psychedelics can promote enduring changes in personality, attitudes and optimism, as well as improvements in mental health outcomes.Aim: To investigate the effects of a composite intervention, involving psilocybin, on pessimism biases in patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD).Methods: Patients with TRD (n = 15) and matched, untreated non-depressed controls (n = 15) performed the Prediction Of Future Life Events (POFLE) task. The POFLE task requires participants to predict the likelihood of certain life events occurring within a 30-day period, after which the actual rate of event occurrence is reported; this gives an index of potential pessimism versus optimism bias. Psilocybin was administered in two oral dosing sessions (10 and 25 mg) one week apart. Main outcome measures were collected at baseline and one week after the second dosing session.Results: Patients showed a significant pessimism bias at baseline [t(14) = -3.260, p = 0.006; 95% CI (-0.16, -0.03), g = 1.1] which was related to the severity of their depressive symptoms (rs = -0.55, p = 0.017). One week after psilocybin treatment, this bias was significantly decreased [t(14) = -2.714, p = 0.017; 95% CI (-0.21, -0.02), g = 0.7] and depressive symptoms were greatly improved [t(14) = 7.900, p < 0.001; 95% CI (16.17, 28.23), g = 1.9]; moreover, the magnitude of change in both variables was significantly correlated (r = -0.57, p = 0.014). Importantly, post treatment, patients became significantly more accurate at predicting the occurrence of future life events [t(14) = 1.857, p = 0.042; 95% CI (-0.01, 0.12), g = 0.6] whereas no such change was observed in the control subjects.Conclusion: These findings suggest that psilocybin with psychological support might correct pessimism biases in TRD, enabling a more positive and accurate outlook.

Journal article

Lyons T, Carhart-Harris RL, 2018, Increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarian political views after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol: 32, Pages: 811-819, ISSN: 1461-7285

Rationale:Previous research suggests that classical psychedelic compounds can induce lasting changes in personality traits, attitudes and beliefs in both healthy subjects and patient populations.Aim:Here we sought to investigate the effects of psilocybin on nature relatedness and libertarian–authoritarian political perspective in patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD).Methods:This open-label pilot study with a mixed-model design studied the effects of psilocybin on measures of nature relatedness and libertarian–authoritarian political perspective in patients with moderate to severe TRD (n=7) versus age-matched non-treated healthy control subjects (n=7). Psilocybin was administered in two oral dosing sessions (10 mg and 25 mg) 1 week apart. Main outcome measures were collected 1 week and 7–12 months after the second dosing session. Nature relatedness and libertarian–authoritarian political perspective were assessed using the Nature Relatedness Scale (NR-6) and Political Perspective Questionnaire (PPQ-5), respectively.Results:Nature relatedness significantly increased (t(6)=−4.242, p=0.003) and authoritarianism significantly decreased (t(6)=2.120, p=0.039) for the patients 1 week after the dosing sessions. At 7–12 months post-dosing, nature relatedness remained significantly increased (t(5)=−2.707, p=0.021) and authoritarianism remained decreased at trend level (t(5)=−1.811, p=0.065). No differences were found on either measure for the non-treated healthy control subjects.Conclusions:This pilot study suggests that psilocybin with psychological support might produce lasting changes in attitudes and beliefs. Although it would be premature to infer causality from this small study, the possibility of drug-induced changes in belief systems seems sufficiently intriguing and timely to deserve further investigation.

Journal article

Buchborn T, Lyons T, Knopfel T, 2018, Tolerance and Tachyphylaxis to Head Twitches Induced by the 5-HT2A Agonist 25CN-NBOH in Mice, Frontiers in Pharmacology, Vol: 9, ISSN: 1663-9812

The serotonin (5-HT) 2A receptor is the primary molecular target of serotonergic hallucinogens, which trigger large-scale perturbations of the cortex. Our understanding of how 5-HT2A activation may cause the effects of hallucinogens has been hampered by the receptor unselectivity of most of the drugs of this class. Here we used 25CN-NBOH (N-(2-hydroxybenzyl)-2,5-dimethoxy-4-cyanophenylethylamine), a newly developed selective 5-HT2A agonist, and tested it with regard to the head-twitch-response (HTR) model of 5-HT2A activity and effects on locomotion. 25CN-NBOH evoked HTRs with an inverted u-shape-like dose-response curve and highest efficacy at 1.5 mg/kg, i.p. HTR occurrence peaked within 5 min after agonist injection, and exponentially decreased to half-maximal frequency at ~11 min. Thorough habituation to the experimental procedures (including handling, saline injection, and exposure to the observational boxes 1 day before the experiment) facilitated the animals' response to 25CN-NBOH. 25CN-NBOH (1.5 mg/kg, i.p.) induced HTRs were blocked by the 5-HT2A antagonist ketanserin (0.75 mg/kg, 30 min pre), but not by the 5-HT2C antagonist SB-242084 (0.5 mg/kg, i.p., 30 min pre). SB-242084 instead slightly increased the number of HTRs occurring at a 3.0-mg/kg dose of the agonist. Apart from HTR induction, 25CN-NBOH also modestly increased locomotor activity of the mice. Repeated once-per-day injections (1.5 mg/kg, i.p.) led to reduced occurrence of 25CN-NBOH induced HTRs. This intermediate tolerance was augmented when a second (higher) dose of the drug (3.0 mg/kg) was interspersed. Short-interval tolerance (i.e., tachyphylaxis) was observed when the drug was injected twice at intervals of 1.0 and 1.5 h at either dose tested (1.5 mg/kg and 0.75 mg/kg, respectively). Inducing ketanserin-sensitive HTRs, which are dependent on environmental valences and which show signs of tachyphylaxis and tolerance, 25CN-NBOH shares striking features common to serotonergic hallucinogens. Gi

Journal article

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