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Neuroscience. 2012 Jun 28;213:72-80. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.03.052. Epub 2012 Apr 19.

Antidepressant-like effects of low ketamine dose is associated with increased hippocampal AMPA/NMDA receptor density ratio in female Wistar-Kyoto rats.

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1
Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, DC 20059, USA. ytizabi@howard.edu

Abstract

Preclinical as well as limited clinical studies indicate that ketamine, a non-competitive glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, may exert a quick and prolonged antidepressant effect. It has been postulated that ketamine action is due to inhibition of NMDA and stimulation of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) receptors. Here, we sought to determine whether ketamine would exert antidepressant effects in Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats, a putative animal model of depression and whether this effect would be associated with changes in AMPA/NMDA receptor densities in the hippocampus. Adult female WKY rats and their control Wistar rats were subjected to acute and chronic ketamine doses and their locomotor activity (LMA) and immobility in the forced swim test (FST) were evaluated. Hippocampal AMPA and NMDA receptor densities were also measured following a chronic ketamine dose. Ketamine, both acutely (0.5-5.0 mg/kg i.p.) and chronically (0.5-2.5 mg/kg daily for 10 days) resulted in a dose-dependent and prolonged decrease in immobility in FST in WKY rats only, suggesting an antidepressant-like effect in this model. Chronic treatment with an effective dose of ketamine also resulted in an increase in AMPA/NMDA receptor density ratio in the hippocampus of WKY rats. LMA was not affected by any ketamine treatment in either strain. These results indicate a rapid and lasting antidepressant-like effect of a low ketamine dose in WKY rat model of depression. Moreover, the increase in AMPA/NMDA receptor density in the hippocampus could be a contributory factor to behavioral effects of ketamine. These findings suggest potential therapeutic benefit in simultaneous reduction of central NMDA and elevation of AMPA receptor function in treatment of depression.

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