Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Cheryl Kirstein, Ph.D.

Keywords

Neurogenesis, Serotonin, Hippocampus, Fear conditioning, Psilocybin

Abstract

Aberrations in brain serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmission have been implicated in psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression and deficits in learning and memory. Many of these disorders are treated with drugs which promote the availability of 5-HT in the synapse. Selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are known to stimulate the production of new neurons in the hippocampus (HPC) by increasing synaptic concentration of serotonin (5-HT). However, it is not clear which of the 5-HT receptors are involved in behavioral improvements and enhanced neurogenesis. The current study aimed to investigate the effects of 5HT[subscript 2A] agonists psilocybin and 251-NBMeO and the 5HT[subscript 2A/C] antagonist ketanserin on neurogenesis and hippocampal-dependent learning. Agonists and an antagonist to the 5-HT2A receptor produced alterations in hippocampal neurogenesis and trace fear conditioning. Future studies should examine the temporal effects of acute and chronic psilocybin administration on hippocampal-dependent learning and neurogenesis.

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