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Neuroscience. 2010 Jun 2;167(4):969-73. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.03.032. Epub 2010 Mar 22.

Ketamine impairs recognition memory consolidation and prevents learning-induced increase in hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels.

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Laboratory of Molecular Neuropharmacology, Department of Pharmacology, Institute for Basic Health Sciences, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


The non-competitive N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor antagonist ketamine has been shown to produce cognitive deficits. However, the effects of ketamine on the consolidation phase of memory remain poorly characterized. Here we show that systemic administration of ketamine immediately after training dose-dependently impairs long-term retention of memory for a novel object recognition (NOR) task in rats. Control experiments showed that the impairing effects of ketamine could not be attributed to an influence on memory retrieval or sensorimotor effects. In addition, ketamine prevented the increase in hippocampal brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels induced by NOR learning. Our results show for the first time that ketamine disrupts the consolidation phase of long-term recognition memory. In addition, the findings suggest that the amnestic effects of ketamine might be at least partially mediated by an influence on BDNF signaling in the hippocampus.

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