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Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Aug 7;38(2):310-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2012.04.018. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Ketamine-enhanced immobility in forced swim test: a possible animal model for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abuja, Nigeria.


Schizophrenia is a chronic and highly complex psychiatric disorder characterised by cognitive dysfunctions, negative and positive symptoms. The major challenge in schizophrenia research is lack of suitable animal models that mimic the core behavioural aspects and symptoms of this devastating psychiatric disorder. In this study, we used classical and atypical antipsychotic drugs to examine the predictive validity of ketamine-enhanced immobility in forced swim test (FST) as a possible animal model for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. We also evaluated the effects of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) on the ketamine-enhanced immobility in FST. Repeated administration of a subanaesthetic dose of ketamine (30 mg kg(-1), i.p., daily for 5 days) enhanced the duration of immobility in FST 24 h after the final injection. The effect, which persisted for at least 21 days after withdrawal of the drug, was neither observed by single treatment with ketamine (30 mg kg(-1) i.p.) nor repeated treatment with amphetamine (1 and 2 mg kg(-1) i.p., daily for 5 days). The enhancing effects of ketamine (30 mg kg(-1) day(-1) i.p.) on the duration of immobility in the FST were attenuated by clozapine (1, 5 and 10 mg kg(-1) i.p.), risperidone (0.25 and 0.5 mg kg(-1) i.p.) and paroxetine (1 and 5 mg kg(-1) i.p.). Haloperidol (0.25 and 0.50 mg kg(-1) day(-1) i.p.) failed to attenuate the ketamine-enhanced immobility in the FST. The repeated ketamine administration neither affects locomotor activity nor motor coordination in rats under the same treatment conditions with the FST, suggesting that the effects of ketamine on the duration of immobility in this study was neither due to motor dysfunction nor peripheral neuromuscular blockade. Our results suggest that repeated treatment with subanaesthetic doses of ketamine enhance the duration of immobility in FST, which might be a useful animal model for the negative symptoms (particularly the depressive features) of schizophrenia.

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