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The role of glutamate in mood disorders: Results from the ketamine in major depression study and the presumed cellular mechanism underlying its antidepressant effects

Abstract

In this article, we first review a study showing that the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist ketamine leads to rapid, robust, and relatively sustained antidepressant effects in patients with treatment-resistant major depression. We then discuss our hypothesis that the therapeutic effects of monoaminergic antidepressants and ketamine may be mediated by increased AMPA-to-NMDA glutamate receptor throughput in critical neuronal circuits. We hypothesize that ketamine directly mediates this throughput, whereas monoaminergic antidepressants work indirectly and gradually; this may explain, in part, the lag of onset of several weeks to months that is observed with traditional antidepressants.

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Correspondence to Carlos A. Zarate Jr.

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Maeng, S., Zarate, C.A. The role of glutamate in mood disorders: Results from the ketamine in major depression study and the presumed cellular mechanism underlying its antidepressant effects. Curr Psychiatry Rep 9, 467–474 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-007-0063-1

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Keywords

  • NMDA
  • Ketamine
  • NMDA Receptor
  • Mood Disorder
  • Memantine