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IBRO Rep. 2019 Jan 16;6:87-94. doi: 10.1016/j.ibror.2019.01.006. eCollection 2019 Jun.

Effects of subanesthetic intravenous ketamine infusion on neuroplasticity-related proteins in the prefrontal cortex, amygdala, and hippocampus of Sprague-Dawley rats.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, United States.
2
Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, United States.
3
Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing, Uniformed Services University, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, United States.
4
National Capital Consortium Psychiatry Residency Program, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD 20814, United States.

Abstract

Ketamine, a multimodal dissociative anesthetic, is a powerful analgesic administered following trauma due to its hemodynamic and respiratory stability. However, ketamine can cause hallucination and dissociation which may adversely impact traumatic memory after an injury. The effects of ketamine on proteins implicated in neural plasticity are unclear due to different doses, routes, and timing of drug administration in previous studies. Here, we investigated the effects of a single intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion on protein levels in three brain regions of rats. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats with indwelling IV catheters underwent an auditory fear conditioning (three pairings of tone and mild footshock 0.8 mA, 0.5 s) and received a high dose of IV ketamine (0 or 40 mg/kg/2 h) infusion (Experiment 1). In a follow-up study, animals received a low dose of IV ketamine (0 or 10 mg/kg/2 h) infusion (Experiment 2). Two hours after the infusion, brain tissue from the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), hippocampus, and amygdala were collected for western blot analyses. Protein levels of a transcription factor (c-Fos), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK) were quantified in these regions. The 40 mg/kg ketamine infusion increased c-Fos levels in the mPFC and amygdala as well as pERK levels in the mPFC and hippocampus. The 10 mg/kg ketamine infusion increased BDNF levels in the amygdala, but decreased pERK levels in the mPFC and hippocampus. These findings suggest that a clinically relevant route of ketamine administration produces dose-dependent and brain region-specific effects on proteins involved in neuroplasticity.

KEYWORDS:

Brain-derived neurotrophic factor; Extracellular signal-regulated kinase; Fear conditioning; Intravenous ketamine; Prefrontal cortex; c-Fos

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