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PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e23982. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0023982. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Ketamine influences CLOCK:BMAL1 function leading to altered circadian gene expression.

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Center for Epigenetics and Metabolism, School of Medicine, University of California Irvine, Irvine, California, United States of America.


Major mood disorders have been linked to abnormalities in circadian rhythms, leading to disturbances in sleep, mood, temperature, and hormonal levels. We provide evidence that ketamine, a drug with rapid antidepressant effects, influences the function of the circadian molecular machinery. Ketamine modulates CLOCK:BMAL1-mediated transcriptional activation when these regulators are ectopically expressed in NG108-15 neuronal cells. Inhibition occurs in a dose-dependent manner and is attenuated after treatment with the GSK3β antagonist SB21673. We analyzed the effect of ketamine on circadian gene expression and observed a dose-dependent reduction in the amplitude of circadian transcription of the Bmal1, Per2, and Cry1 genes. Finally, chromatin-immunoprecipitation analyses revealed that ketamine altered the recruitment of the CLOCK:BMAL1 complex on circadian promoters in a time-dependent manner. Our results reveal a yet unsuspected molecular mode of action of ketamine and thereby may suggest possible pharmacological antidepressant strategies.

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