Cortical Correlates of Psychedelic-Induced Shaking Behaviour Revealed by Voltage Imaging

Tobias Buchborn, Taylor Lyons, Chenchen Song, Amanda Feilding and Thomas Knöpfel

From mouse to man, shaking behavior (head twitches and/or wet dog shakes) is a reliable readout of psychedelic drug action. Shaking behavior like psychedelia is thought to be mediated by serotonin 2A receptors on cortical pyramidal cells. The involvement of pyramidal cells in psychedelic-induced shaking behavior remains hypothetical, though, as experimental in vivo evidence is limited. Here, we use cell type-specific voltage imaging in awake mice to address this issue. We intersectionally express the genetically encoded voltage indicator VSFP Butterfly 1.2 in layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons. We simultaneously capture cortical hemodynamics and cell type-specific voltage activity while mice display psychedelic shaking behavior. Shaking behavior is preceded by high-frequency oscillations and overlaps with low-frequency oscillations in the motor cortex. Oscillations spectrally mirror the rhythmics of shaking behavior and reflect layer 2/3 pyramidal cell activity complemented by hemodynamics. Our results reveal a clear cortical fingerprint of serotonin-2A-receptor-mediated shaking behavior and open a promising methodological avenue relating a cross-mammalian psychedelic effect to cell-type specific brain dynamics.

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