Animal models of serotonergic psychedelics

James B. Hanks, Javier González-Maeso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


The serotonin 5-HT2A receptor is the major target of psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), mescaline, and psilocybin. Serotonergic psychedelics induce profound effects on cognition, emotion, and sensory processing that often seem uniquely human. This raises questions about the validity of animal models of psychedelic drug action. Nonetheless, recent findings suggest behavioral abnormalities elicited by psychedelics in rodents that predict such effects in humans. Here we review the behavioral effects induced by psychedelic drugs in rodent models, discuss the translational potential of these findings, and define areas where further research is needed to better understand the molecular mechanisms and neuronal circuits underlying their neuropsychological effects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalACS Chemical Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 Jan 2013


  • G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)
  • Psychedelic
  • hallucinogenic
  • lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
  • mouse behavior models
  • psychosis
  • schizophrenia
  • serotonin 5-HT receptor


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