Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2014 Aug;12(2):124-127.

Antidepressant Effects of Ketamine on Depression-like Behavior in Juvenile Mice after Neonatal Dexamethasone Exposure

  • 1Division of Clinical Neuroscience, Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Health, Chiba, Japan.
  • 2National Institute on Drug Dependence, Peking University, Beijing, P.R. China.


OBJECTIVE: Pediatric depression is associated with significant functional impairment at school and at work. Recently, we reported on depression-like behavior in juvenile mice neonatally exposed to dexamethasone (DEX) as a potential animal model for pediatric depression. The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist ketamine has promoted rapid and long-lasting antidepressant effects in patients with treatment-resistant major depression. This study was conducted to examine whether ketamine had antidepressant effects in juvenile mice after neonatal DEX exposure.
A single dose (10 mg/kg) of ketamine or vehicle was injected into juvenile mice at days 29-32 after neonatal DEX (or saline) exposure (days 1-3). The sucrose preference test, tail suspension test, and forced swimming test were performed 24, 40, and 46 hours, respectively, after injection of ketamine.
Ketamine (10 mg/kg) significantly improved depression-like behavior in DEX-treated juvenile mice.
This finding suggests that ketamine confers antidepressant effects in an animal model of pediatric depression.


Depression; Dexamethasone; Ketamine; NMDA receptors; Antidepressants
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