Disinhibition of CA1 pyramidal cells by low-dose ketamine and other antagonists with rapid antidepressant efficacy

Academic Article


  • © 2018 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Low-dose ketamine, an open-channel N-methyl D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonist, mediates rapid antidepressant effects in humans that are mimicked in preclinical rodent models. Disinhibition of pyramidal cells via decreased output of fast-spiking GABAergic interneurons has been proposed as a key mechanism that triggers the antidepressant response. Unfortunately, to date, disinhibition has not been directly demonstrated. Furthermore, whether disinhibition is a commonmechanism shared among other antagonists with rapid antidepressant properties in humans has not been investigated. Using in vitro electrophysiology in acute slices of dorsal hippocampus from adult male Sprague-Dawley rats, we examined the immediate effects of a clinically relevant concentration of ketamine to directly test the disinhibition hypothesis. As a mechanistic comparison, we also tested the effects of the glycine site NMDAR partial agonist/antagonist GLYX-13 (rapastinel), the GluN2B subunit-selective NMDAR antagonist Ro 25-6981, and the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) antagonist scopolamine. Low-dose ketamine, GLYX-13, and scopolamine reduced inhibitory input onto pyramidal cells and increased synaptically driven pyramidal cell excitability measured at the single-cell and population levels. Conversely, Ro 25- 6981 increased the strength of inhibitory transmission and did not change pyramidal cell excitability. These results show a decrease in the inhibition/excitation balance that supports disinhibition as a common mechanism shared among those antagonists with rapid antidepressant properties. These data suggest that pyramidal cell disinhibition downstream of NMDAR antagonism could serve as a possible biomarker for the efficacy of rapid antidepressant therapy.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 26320214
  • Author List

  • Widman AJ; McMahon LL
  • Start Page

  • E3007
  • End Page

  • E3016
  • Volume

  • 115
  • Issue

  • 13