Association between dynamic resting-state functional connectivity and ketamine plasma levels in visual processing networks

Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 7;9(1):11484. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46702-x.


Numerous studies demonstrate ketamine's influence on resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC). Seed-based and static rsFC estimation methods may oversimplify FC. These limitations can be addressed with whole-brain, dynamic rsFC estimation methods. We assessed data from 27 healthy subjects who underwent two 3 T resting-state fMRI scans, once under subanesthetic, intravenous esketamine and once under placebo, in a randomized, cross-over manner. We aimed to isolate only highly robust effects of esketamine on dynamic rsFC by using eight complementary methodologies derived from two dynamic rsFC estimation methods, two functionally defined atlases and two statistical measures. All combinations revealed a negative influence of esketamine on dynamic rsFC within the left visual network and inter-hemispherically between visual networks (p < 0.05, corrected), hereby suggesting that esketamine's influence on dynamic rsFC is highly stable in visual processing networks. Our findings may be reflective of ketamine's role as a model for psychosis, a disorder associated with alterations to visual processing and impaired inter-hemispheric connectivity. Ketamine is a highly effective antidepressant and studies have shown changes to sensory processing in depression. Dynamic rsFC in sensory processing networks might be a promising target for future investigations of ketamine's antidepressant properties. Mechanistically, sensitivity of visual networks for esketamine's effects may result from their high expression of NMDA-receptors.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antidepressive Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Connectome
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Ketamine / administration & dosage*
  • Ketamine / pharmacokinetics
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / drug effects*
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Placebos / administration & dosage
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Rest / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / drug effects*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Placebos
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Esketamine
  • Ketamine