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Ann Neurol. 1991 Dec;30(6):801-9.

MK-801 and ketamine induce heat shock protein HSP72 in injured neurons in posterior cingulate and retrosplenial cortex.

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Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco.


MK-801 and ketamine are noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor blockers that decrease brain injury in animal models of focal and global ischemia. Recent reports, however, suggested that MK-801 itself can damage neurons. Here we show that MK-801 (0.1 to 5.0 mg/kg) and ketamine (40 to 100 mg/kg) typically induce heat shock protein HSP72 mainly in layer 3 neurons of the posterior cingulate and retrosplenial cortex of the rat. These HSP72-immunoreactive neurons contain abnormal cytoplasmic vacuoles visualized by electron microscopy. The HSP72 immunoreactivity is maximal at 24 hours with 1.0-mg/kg doses of MK-801 and disappears by 2 weeks. Based on these data, we propose: (1) MK-801 and ketamine injure selected neurons, which express HSP72 in response to that injury. (2) Since HSP72 is induced for 1 to 2 weeks, the prolonged psychological side effects of MK-801, ketamine, phencyclidine, and related drugs could be related to this injury. (3) The neuroprotective effect of MK-801 is probably not related to HSP72 induction. (4) HSP72 immunocytochemistry is useful for studying nonlethal neuronal injury from a wide variety of brain insults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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