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Front Mol Neurosci. 2014 Dec 1;7:94. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2014.00094. eCollection 2014.

Age dependence of the rapid antidepressant and synaptic effects of acute NMDA receptor blockade.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, TX, USA.


Ketamine is a N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonist that produces rapid antidepressant responses in individuals with major depressive disorder. The antidepressant action of ketamine has been linked to blocking NMDAR activation at rest, which inhibits eukaryotic elongation factor 2 kinase leading to desuppression of protein synthesis and synaptic potentiation in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. Here, we investigated ketamine mediated antidepressant response and the resulting synaptic potentiation in juvenile animals. We found that ketamine did not produce an antidepressant response in juvenile animals in the novelty suppressed feeding or the forced swim test. In addition ketamine application failed to trigger synaptic potentiation in hippocampal slices obtained from juvenile animals, unlike its action in slices from adult animals. The inability of ketamine to trigger an antidepressant response or subsequent synaptic plasticity processes suggests a developmental component to ketamine mediated antidepressant efficacy. We also show that the NMDAR antagonist AP5 triggers synaptic potentiation in mature hippocampus similar to the action of ketamine, demonstrating that global competitive blockade of NMDARs is sufficient to trigger this effect. These findings suggest that global blockade of NMDARs in developmentally mature hippocampal synapses are required for the antidepressant efficacy of ketamine.


antidepressant; behavior; development; ketamine; synaptic potentiation

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