Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Knowing how ketamine impairs brain circuitry may lead to new therapies for schizophrenia

10.12.2007
Scientists know that the drug ketamine – street name “Special K” – can induce schizophrenia-like symptoms in drug abusers.

Ketamine is also used as an anesthetic and, more recently, as an antidepressant – raising concerns by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine, who have found that ketamine leads to the impairments in brain circuitry observed in both drug abusers and schizophrenic patients by causing increased production of a toxic free radical called “superoxide.” Their findings, which could point the way to novel treatments for schizophrenia, will be published in the December 7 issue of the journal Science.

A research team led by Laura Dugan, M.D., Larry L. Hillblom Professor of Geriatrics and research scholar with the UCSD Stein Institute for Research on Aging, discovered an unexpected link between the inflammatory enzyme complex NADPH oxidase and the dysfunction of certain brain neurons exposed to ketamine. NADPH oxidase is normally found in white blood cells circulating outside the brain, where it helps kill bacterial and fungal infections by producing superoxide, a compound that can cause substantial damage to cells.

“Because of NADPH oxidase’s protective role in fighting infection, it was very surprising to find that the complex wears a second hat – it is also critical for modulating signaling in the brain,” said first author M. Margarita Behrens, Ph.D., Division of Geriatric Medicine, UCSD School of Medicine.

... more about:
»NADPH »Oxidase »UCSD »circuitry »ketamine »neurons »schizophrenia

According to Behrens, it was known that ketamine initially impairs the inhibitory circuitry in the brain’s cortex and hippocampus by blocking the NMDA receptor, a molecule on the cell surface that controls the activity of neurons. But the UCSD researchers discovered that, as a result of blocking the receptor, ketamine also substantially increased the activity of NADPH oxidase, causing further disruption of neuronal signaling.

“Ketamine causes a ‘disinhibition’ of brain circuitry, taking the brakes off the system and causing overexcitation of the brain in response to a stimulus,” said Behrens. “This overexcitation activates NADPH oxidase, which then produces superoxide – resulting in detrimental changes in key synaptic proteins and profoundly affecting nervous system function.”

The result is impairment of the brain circuitry involved in memory, attention and other key functions related to learning. Loss of such functions sets up individuals for psychosis and deficits in information processing, resulting in symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, as well as social withdrawal and cognitive problems, according to Behrens.

Using ketamine, Behrens and Dugan mimicked features of schizophrenia in mice, and then analyzed neurons in a region of the mouse brain that corresponds to the prefrontal cortex in humans where profound changes occur in patients with schizophrenia. The researchers found a substantial increase in the activity of NADPH oxidase, and that this activity made some neurons in this inhibitory circuitry “disappear.” When the researchers blocked the activity of NADPH oxidase with an inhibitor, or with a compound that annihilates superoxide, these neurons were protected.

“Our findings suggest that compounds that inhibit NADPH oxidase in the brain, without totally blocking its protective function of killing bacteria, could provide future therapies for schizophrenia or other diseases in humans that exhibit similar changes in neural circuitry,” said Behrens.

Debra Kain | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

Further reports about: NADPH Oxidase UCSD circuitry ketamine neurons schizophrenia

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>