Fighting Depression with Special Ketamine

Posted on May 28, 2013

There have been previous media rumblings (and blog) about ketamine through the years, so I’m rather curious as to why the article came out now (maybe there’s another new paper out? I didn’t see any referenced and couldn’t find anything). To be honest, while yes, ketamine has a lot of interesting potential, it’s not really quite as “new” as you might think. The first major clinical reports of ketamine as an effective antidepressant actually date back to 2000. Since then, scientists have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out WHY a drug usually used to knock out horses, or abused for its perception-changing qualities, acts as an antidepressant.

Ketamine isn’t like the current drugs used as antidepressants. Current drugs, like Prozac affect chemical neurotransmitters like serotonin. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers, released from one neuron and signaling to another. They have have extremely different effects depending on where in the brain you are, what neurotransmitter is released, and what “flavors” of receptors it hits. But while the current drugs hit dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, ketamine interacts with glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. And instead of increasing neurotransmitter concentrations (like other antidepressants do to serotonin or dopamine), ketamine acts as an ANTAGONIST at what of the glutamate receptor types, NMDA, preventing glutamate from binding to the receptor. But that’s not all, ketamine is also involved in the opioid system (which has its own receptors), and can inhibit nitric oxide from being synthesized.

Click on the link below to read the full article


Source material from Scientific American

Mental Health News