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
NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures
17.11.2017 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
High speed video recording precisely measures blood cell velocity
15.11.2017 | ITMO University
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses