Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Researchers Explore the Antidepressant Effects of Ketamine

Drug treatments for depression can take many weeks for the beneficial effects to emerge. The excruciating and disabling nature of depression highlights the urgency of developing treatments that act more rapidly.

Ketamine, a drug used in general medicine as an anesthetic, has recently been shown to produce improvements in depressed patients within hours of administration. A new study being published in the February 15th issue of Biological Psychiatry provides some new insight into the mechanisms by which ketamine exerts its effects.

Ketamine is classified as an N-methyl d-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor antagonist. Maeng and colleagues now provide new evidence that these antidepressant effects of NMDA receptor antagonists are mediated by their ability to increase the stimulation of a-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) glutamate receptors. In other words, their findings indicate that the antidepressant-like effects of drugs like ketamine are dependent on AMPA receptor stimulation. This suggests that drugs that enhance AMPA receptor function might have rapid antidepressant properties.

Dr. Husseini Manji, corresponding author on this paper and a Deputy Editor of Biological Psychiatry, explains that “by aiming new medications at more direct molecular targets, such as NMDA or AMPA, we may be able to bypass some of the steps through which current antidepressants indirectly exert their effects — a roundabout route that accounts for the long time it takes for patients to begin feeling better with the conventional medications.” He adds, “Today’s antidepressant medications eventually end up doing the same thing, but they go about it the long way around, with a lot of biochemical steps that take time. Now we’ve shown what the key targets are and that we can get at them rapidly.”

This study is especially important because even though this important antidepressant effect has been found in ketamine, its use also has significant drawbacks. According to John H. Krystal, M.D., Editor of Biological Psychiatry and affiliated with both Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, “the only NMDA receptor antagonist found to be effective so far, ketamine, produces transient changes in perception and impairments in cognition.”

It is also in the same class of drugs as PCP (phencyclidine) and can cause hallucinations, among other side effects. Dr. Krystal notes that “it is possible that drugs that directly enhance the activity of AMPA glutamate receptors, the AMPAkines, would have antidepressant effects similar to ketamine, without the unwanted side effects.” Exploring the antidepressant effects of the AMPAkines will now be an important target for researchers.

Jayne Dawkins | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease
26.10.2016 | Massachusetts General Hospital

nachricht Indian roadside refuse fires produce toxic rainbow
26.10.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>