Repeated Ketamine Exposure Induces an Enduring Resilient Phenotype in Adolescent and Adult Rats Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Major depressive disorder afflicts up to 10% of adolescents. However, nearly 50% of those afflicted are considered nonresponsive to available treatments. Ketamine, a noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist has shown potential as a rapid-acting and long-lasting treatment for major depressive disorder in adults. Thus, the effectiveness and functional consequences of ketamine exposure during adolescence were explored. METHODS: Adolescent male rats (postnatal day [PD] 35) received two ketamine (0, 5, 10, or 20 mg/kg) injections, 4 hours apart, after exposure to day 1 of the forced swim test (FST). The next day, rats were reexposed to the FST to assess ketamine-induced antidepressant-like responses. Separate groups were exposed to chronic unpredictable stress to confirm findings from the FST. After these initial experiments, adolescent naive rats were exposed to either 1 or 15 consecutive days (PD35-49) of ketamine (20 mg/kg) twice daily. Ketamine's influence on behavioral reactivity to rewarding (i.e., sucrose preference) and aversive (i.e., elevated plus-maze, FST) circumstances was then assessed 2 months after treatment. To control for age-dependent effects, adult rats (PD75-89) were exposed to identical experimental conditions. RESULTS: Ketamine (20 mg/kg) reversed the chronic unpredictable stress-induced depression-like behaviors in the FST. Repeated ketamine exposure resulted in anxiolytic- and antidepressant-like responses 2 months after drug exposure. None of the ketamine doses used were capable of inducing drug-seeking behaviors as measured by place preference conditioning. CONCLUSIONS: Repeated ketamine exposure induces enduring resilient-like responses regardless of age of exposure. These findings point to ketamine, and its repeated exposure, as a potentially useful antidepressant during adolescence.

altmetric score

  • 4.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Parise, E. M., Alcantara, L. F., Warren, B. L., Wright, K. N., Hadad, R., Sial, O. K., ... Bolaños-Guzmán, C. A.

citation count

  • 60

publication date

  • November 2013