Author(s): Xu K, Lipsky RH
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Abstract For more than 40 years following its approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an anesthetic, ketamine, a non-competitive N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor antagonist, has been used as a tool of psychiatric research. As a psychedelic drug, ketamine induces psychotic symptoms, cognitive impairment, and mood elevation, which resemble some symptoms of schizophrenia. Recreational use of ketamine has been increasing in recent years. However, little is known of the underlying molecular mechanisms responsible for ketamine-associated psychosis. Recent animal studies have shown that repeated ketamine administration significantly increases NMDA receptor subunit gene expression, in particular subunit 1 (NR1 or GluN1) levels. This results in neurodegeneration, supporting a potential mechanism where up-regulation of NMDA receptors could produce cognitive deficits in chronic ketamine abuse patients. In other studies, NMDA receptor gene variants are associated with addictive behavior. Here, we focus on the roles of NMDA receptor gene subunits in ketamine abuse and ketamine psychosis and propose that full sequencing of NMDA receptor genes may help explain individual vulnerability to ketamine abuse and ketamine-associated psychosis. © 2014 by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.
This article was published in Exp Biol Med (Maywood)
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals