The drug LSD affects many of the same brain pathways as schizophrenia and causes similar symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions, say researchers who conducted experiments on mice, Agence France-Presse reported.
The findings may help lead to improved treatments for schizophrenia. Currently, there is no known cure for the disorder, which affects about one in 200 people.
The researchers, led by Stuart Sealfon of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, found that the drug had to act simultaneously on specific serotonin and glutamate receptors in order to produce schizophrenia-like symptoms in the mice, AFP reported.
When mice under the influence of LSD were given another drug that targeted only the glutamate receptor, the hallucinogenic effect of LSD was neutralized. This is an important discovery, in light of a the development of a new schizophrenia treatment that -- unlike any previous therapy -- acts only on the glutamate receptors, Sealfon said.