Research Topic

Ketamine in Depression - Mechanisms and Applications

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Ketamine has been repeatedly reported to exert fast acting, strong antidepressant effects, even after a single subanaesthetic infusion. This promises to meet an urgent medical need particularly for the case of the large numbers of treatment resistant depressed patients as well as the need for acute effects in ...

Ketamine has been repeatedly reported to exert fast acting, strong antidepressant effects, even after a single subanaesthetic infusion. This promises to meet an urgent medical need particularly for the case of the large numbers of treatment resistant depressed patients as well as the need for acute effects in the case of suicidality, while conventional antidepressants may need several weeks or more to show full antidepressant effects.

Research by Yang et al in 2018 has highlighted the involvement of several key brain structures and cellular targets, such as the AMPA system highlighted by Zanos et al in 2016, while the individual contribution of these mechanisms remains highly controversial. Systems neuroscience approaches in clinical trial settings by Li et al in 2018 provide insights from neuroimaging studies, which may help to resolve some of these open questions and further provide possible imaging biomarkers for treatment monitoring and patient stratification.

The limited time of effects after single infusions further have given rise to combinatorial investigations, such as by Walter et al in 2014, which focus on the augmentative role of plasticity depending learning processes. Given the enormous clinical interest into ketamine, increasing evidence from patient studies and work on different regimes as well as first practice experience after approval represent another rapidly growing line of research.

The aim of this Research Topic is to provide a broad inclusion of latest developments in the different areas of ketamine research and introduce currently converging concepts as well as novel, open research questions.

This Research Topic will focus on all facets of research on ketamine's antidepressant actions, including animal work, cell cultures and humans, systems neuroscience and clinical studies. Articles in the form of original scientific reports, conceptual reviews and opinions are welcome.

Conflict of Interests Declaration:

Dr. Zarate is a full-time U.S government employee. He is listed as a coinventor on a patent for
the use of ketamine and its metabolites in major depression and suicidal ideation. Dr. Zarate has assigned his patent rights to the U.S. government but will share a percentage of any royalties that may be received by the government.

Prof. Walter has been a PI (in his role as an employee of the University of Magdeburg, Germany) in an industry supported IIT on ketamine in Treatment Resistant Depression, for which the University Magdeburg received financial support from Janssen research & Development, LLc which was completed 2016. Prof. Walter has no direct financial interests to declare.


Keywords: Ketamine, Depression, Antidepressants, Suicidality, Mechanisms


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