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Ketamine works for female rats, too

Research addresses critical gap in understanding disorders that disproportionately afflict females

Society for Neuroscience

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IMAGE: Low-dose ketamine protects female rats against later stress-induced juvenile social exploration deficits. Rats received low (10 mg/kg, i.p.) or high (40 mg/kg, i.p.) dose ketamine 1 week prior to stress... view more 

Credit: Dolzani et al., eNeuro (2018)

A first of its kind study in female rats finds that a single, low dose of ketamine promotes resilience to future adverse events as it does in male rats. Published in eNeuro, the research addresses a critical gap in understanding and developing treatments for stress-related disorders, which disproportionately afflict females.

Ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic and recreational drug. However, ketamine given at a low-dose is currently being investigated for its rapid antidepressant effects that could benefit treatment-resistant patients. Although results from animal research are promising, most of these studies have used only males.

Dr. Samuel Dolzani and colleagues at the University of Colorado Boulder found that female rats treated with low-dose ketamine one week prior to tail shock stress prevented the typical stress-induced decrease in social exploration, reflecting reduced anxiety-like behavior. Strikingly, low-dose ketamine female rats exhibited social exploration levels similar to those of control female rats that did not experience tail shock stress. In collaboration with Dr. Yingxi Lin at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the researchers used a novel tagging system to show that neurons in the prefrontal cortex that were activated by low-dose ketamine were also turned on during the later stress experience. They went on to show that a neural circuit involving the prelimbic cortex and dorsal raphe nucleus was responsible for ketamine's resilience-promoting effects.

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Article: Inhibition of a descending prefrontal circuit prevents ketamine-induced stress resilience in females

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0025-18.2018

Corresponding author:

Samuel Dolzani
University of Colorado Boulder, USA
sam.dolzani@colorado.edu

About eNeuro

eNeuro, the Society for Neuroscience's new open-access journal launched in 2014, publishes rigorous neuroscience research with double-blind peer review that masks the identity of both the authors and reviewers, minimizing the potential for implicit biases. eNeuro is distinguished by a broader scope and balanced perspective achieved by publishing negative results, failure to replicate or replication studies. New research, computational neuroscience, theories and methods are also published.

About The Society for Neuroscience

The Society for Neuroscience is the world's largest organization of scientists and physicians devoted to understanding the brain and nervous system. The nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, now has nearly 37,000 members in more than 90 countries and over 130 chapters worldwide.

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