+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      BDNF Release is Required for the Behavioral Actions of Ketamine

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.



          Recent studies demonstrate that the rapid antidepressant ketamine increases spine number and function in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), and that these effects are dependent on activation of glutamate α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In vitro studies also show that activation of AMPA receptors stimulates BNDF release via activation of L-type voltage-dependent calcium channels (VDCC).


          Based on this evidence, we examined the role of BDNF release and the impact of L-type VDCCs on the behavioral actions of ketamine.


          The results demonstrate that infusion of a neutralizing BDNF antibody into the mPFC blocks the behavioral effects of ketamine in the forced swim test (FST). In addition, we show that pretreatment with nifedipine or verapamil, two structurally-different L-type calcium channel antagonists, blocks the behavioral effects of ketamine in the FST. Finally, we show that ketamine treatment stimulates BDNF release in primary cortical neurons and that this effect is blocked by inhibition of AMPA receptors or L-type VDCCs.


          Taken together, these results indicate that the antidepressant effects of ketamine are mediated by activation of L-type VDCCs and the release of BDNF. They further elucidate the cellular mechanisms underlying this novel rapid-acting antidepressant.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 22

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          A neurotrophic model for stress-related mood disorders.

          There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating that stress decreases the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in limbic structures that control mood and that antidepressant treatment reverses or blocks the effects of stress. Decreased levels of BDNF, as well as other neurotrophic factors, could contribute to the atrophy of certain limbic structures, including the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex that has been observed in depressed subjects. Conversely, the neurotrophic actions of antidepressants could reverse neuronal atrophy and cell loss and thereby contribute to the therapeutic actions of these treatments. This review provides a critical examination of the neurotrophic hypothesis of depression that has evolved from this work, including analysis of preclinical cellular (adult neurogenesis) and behavioral models of depression and antidepressant actions, as well as clinical neuroimaging and postmortem studies. Although there are some limitations, the results of these studies are consistent with the hypothesis that decreased expression of BDNF and possibly other growth factors contributes to depression and that upregulation of BDNF plays a role in the actions of antidepressant treatment.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            NMDA Receptor Blockade at Rest Triggers Rapid Behavioural Antidepressant Responses

            Clinical studies consistently demonstrate that a single sub-psychomimetic dose of ketamine, an ionotropic glutamatergic n-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonist, produces fast-acting antidepressant responses in patients suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD), although the underlying mechanism is unclear 1-3 . Depressed patients report alleviation of MDD symptoms within two hours of a single low-dose intravenous infusion of ketamine with effects lasting up to two weeks 1-3 , unlike traditional antidepressants (i.e. serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which take weeks to reach efficacy. This delay is a major drawback to current MDD therapies, leaving a need for faster acting antidepressants particularly for suicide-risk patients 3 . Ketamine's ability to produce rapidly acting, long-lasting antidepressant responses in depressed patients provides a unique opportunity to investigate underlying cellular mechanisms. We show that ketamine and other NMDAR antagonists produce fast-acting behavioural antidepressant-like effects in mouse models that depend on rapid synthesis of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). We find that ketamine-mediated NMDAR blockade at rest deactivates eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2) kinase (also called CaMKIII) resulting in reduced eEF2 phosphorylation and desuppression of BDNF translation. Furthermore, we find inhibitors of eEF2 kinase induce fast-acting behavioural antidepressant-like effects. Our findings suggest that protein synthesis regulation by spontaneous neurotransmission may serve as a viable therapeutic target for fast-acting antidepressant development.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Antidepressant effects of ketamine in depressed patients.

              A growing body of preclinical research suggests that brain glutamate systems may be involved in the pathophysiology of major depression and the mechanism of action of antidepressants. This is the first placebo-controlled, double-blinded trial to assess the treatment effects of a single dose of an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist in patients with depression. Seven subjects with major depression completed 2 test days that involved intravenous treatment with ketamine hydrochloride (.5 mg/kg) or saline solutions under randomized, double-blind conditions. Subjects with depression evidenced significant improvement in depressive symptoms within 72 hours after ketamine but not placebo infusion (i.e., mean 25-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale scores decreased by 14 +/- SD 10 points vs. 0 +/- 12 points, respectively during active and sham treatment). These results suggest a potential role for NMDA receptor-modulating drugs in the treatment of depression.

                Author and article information

                Int J Neuropsychopharmacol
                Int. J. Neuropsychopharmacol.
                The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology / official scientific journal of the Collegium Internationale Neuropsychopharmacologicum (CINP)
                2 May 2015
                31 October 2014
                11 May 2015
                : 18
                : 1
                Departments of Psychiatry and Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Ronald S. Duman, MD, 34 Park Street, New Haven, CT ( ronald.duman@ )
                © The Author 2014.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine

                l-type vdcc, bdnf, depression, glutamate, ketamine


                Comment on this article