School of Medicine Publications and Presentations

Document Type


Publication Date



The biochemical processes involved in depression go beyond serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor has a major role in the neurophysiology of depression. Ketamine, one of the prototypical NMDA antagonists, works rapidly in controlling depressive symptoms, including acutely suicidal behavior, by just a single injection. Ketamine may rapidly increase the glutamate levels and lead to structural neuronal changes. Increased neuronal dendritic growth may contribute to synaptogenesis and an increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR), as well as increased levels of BDNF, may increase long-term potentiation and result in an improvement in the symptoms of depression. The mechanisms of ketamine’s proposed effect as an off-label treatment for resistant depression are outlined in this paper.


© Copyright 2018 Sattar et al.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title




Academic Level


Mentor/PI Department




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.