About this Research Topic
Psychotropic agents are chemical substances that alter brain functions leading to changes in perception, emotion, cognition, and behavior. According to their biochemical structure and pharmacological actions several classifications exist. Some of these classes include drugs which are used as therapeutic agents in modern medicine, such as analgesics, anesthetics, sedato-hypnotics, anxiolytics, antidepressants, antipsychotics, psychostimulants, etc. generally used in the clinical practice for the treatment of various neurological and psychiatric disorders. Another important class is psychedelics, used since ancient times by many human groups for ceremonial and medicinal purposes, and more recently to facilitate self-knowledge and recreation. In the last three decades, the establishment of neuro-immune communication pathways opened a novel approach in the biomedical paradigm. Immune cells and factors have been identified as potent neuromodulators and, vice versa, several processes in cellular and systems neurophysiology turned out to be critically involved in mammalian immune regulation. For instance, glial cells of the brain as well as the elements of peripheral innate and adaptive immunity are now considered as pivotal factors contributing to the etiology of several neuropsychiatric illnesses. The modulation of peripheral and/or local brain immune processes represents a novel and promising approach in the treatment of these disorders, most notably in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder. Besides their direct mechanism of action, many psychotropic drugs have been shown to have positive impact on psychiatric and neurological symptoms also via the modulation of serotonin, dopamine, or sigma-1 receptors of cerebral immune cells, such as astrocytes and microglia. Classical (e.g. DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, DOI) and atypical (e.g. medical cannabis, salvinorin A) psychedelics are also emerging as potent neuro-immune modulators in acute and chronic inflammatory conditions, and in some forms of cancer. This Research Topic aims to provide a comprehensive and multidisciplinary view of the immunopharmacology of psychotropic substances and their impact on human health and disease. Using a broad approach that will include research on endogenous ligands, naturally occurring exogenous substances and synthetic compounds, the topic will increase our understanding of psychotropic drug action on the mammalian immune system. We aim to encourage experts from various fields – including but not limited to immunology, psychopharmacology, neuroscience, neurology, and psychiatry. All interested researchers will be welcome to submit their work for consideration.
Keywords: immunology, neuroimmunology, psychotropic substance, psychopharmacology, biological psychiatry
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.