Subanaesthetic ketamine infusion in healthy volunteers induces experiences redolent of early psychosis, including changes in the experience of one’s own body. It is not clear, however, whether repeated self-administration of ketamine has a sustained effect on body representation that is comparable to that found during acute administration.
We sought to establish whether chronic ketamine use resulted in disturbances to sense of body ownership.
Following on from our work on the effects of acute ketamine infusion, we used the rubber hand illusion (RHI) to experimentally manipulate the sense of body ownership in chronic ketamine users, compared to healthy controls.
Chronic ketamine users experienced the RHI more strongly and reported more body-image aberrations, even though they had not recently taken the drug.
These findings suggest that the chronic ketamine model for psychosis models more long-lasting changes in sense of ownership, perhaps more akin to schizophrenia.
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This study was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 30900486 and 81371480 to J.T., 81100996 to Y.L., 81471361 and 81271484 to X.C., 81271499 to Y.T., 81130020 to W.H.), the National Key Basic Research and Development Program (973) (Grant No. 2012CB517904 to X.C., 2009CB522007 to W.H.), Doctoral Fund of the Ministry of Education of China (20100162110046 to W.H.). Philip Corlett reports receiving research support from Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP, and consulting for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. His contribution was made possible by the Connecticut Mental Health Center as well as the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. He is supported by CTSA Grant Number UL1 RR024139 from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) and the National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS), components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and NIH roadmap for Medical Research. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of NIH. Paul Fletcher was funded by the Wellcome Trust and the Bernard Wolfe Health Neuroscience Fund. Paul Fletcher reports receiving consultancy fees from GlaxoSmithKline and an honorarium for a lecture from Astra Zeneca. However, the funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Jinsong Tang and Hannah L. Morgan contributed equally to this work.
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Tang, J., Morgan, H.L., Liao, Y. et al. Chronic administration of ketamine mimics the perturbed sense of body ownership associated with schizophrenia. Psychopharmacology 232, 1515–1526 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-014-3782-0
- N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)
- Body ownership
- Rubber hand illusion