Ketamine as a novel antidepressant: from synapse to behavior

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Feb;91(2):303-9. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2011.244. Epub 2011 Dec 28.


Recent reports of a rapid antidepressant effect of the glutamate N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist ketamine, even in treatment-resistant populations, have spurred translational therapeutic and neuroscience research aimed at elucidating ketamine's mechanism of action. This article provides a concise overview of research findings that pertain to the effects of low-dose ketamine at the cellular, neurocircuitry, and behavioral levels and describes an integrated model of the action of ketamine in the treatment of depression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Treatment-Resistant / drug therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Ketamine / pharmacology*
  • Ketamine / therapeutic use*
  • Neural Pathways / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Ketamine