Both Ketamine and NBQX Attenuate Alcohol-Withdrawal Induced Depression in Male Rats
Author(s): Bruk Getachew and Yousef Tizabi
The co-morbidity between heavy drinking and depression can negatively influence successful cessation of alcohol use. Since ketamine, a glutamatergic NMDA receptor antagonist, has shown promise as a quick-acting antidepressant, we studied its effects specifically on alcohol withdrawal-induced depression. We also evaluated the effects of NBQX an AMPA/kainate receptor antagonist, because some of the effects of ketamine are proposed to be indirectly mediated through these receptors. Adult male Wistar rats were exposed daily to ethanol via inhalation chambers 4 h/day for 7 days (blood alcohol concentration=160 mg%), followed by daily intraperitoneal injections of ketamine (2.5 mg/kg), NBQX (5mg/kg), alone or in combination. Eighteen hours later, open field locomotor activity (OFLA) followed by forced swim test (FST) were performed. The animals were sacrificed 2 h later for evaluation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus. Alcohol withdrawal did not affect OFLA, but caused an increase in immobility in FST, suggesting induction of "depressivelike" helplessness. Both ketamine and NBQX normalized the swimming score in FST. The combination of the two drugs, however, cancelled each other's effect. Parallel to these behavioral observations, both ketamine and NBQX normalized the reduction in hippocampal BDNF caused by alcohol withdrawal. Here also, the combination of the two drugs cancelled each other's effect. These results suggest that either NMDA or AMPA/kainate receptor antagonists, acting at least partially through hippocampal BDNF, may be of therapeutic potential in alcohol use disorder.