A single sub-anesthetic dose of ketamine exerts rapid and sustained antidepressant effects. Here, we examined the role of the ventral hippocampus (vHipp)-medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) pathway in ketamine's antidepressant response. Inactivation of the vHipp with lidocaine prevented the sustained, but not acute, antidepressant-like effect of ketamine as measured by the forced swim test (FST). Moreover, optogenetic as well as pharmacogenetic specific activation of the vHipp-mPFC pathway using DREADDs (designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs) mimicked the antidepressant-like response to ketamine; importantly, this was pathway specific, in that activation of a vHipp to nucleus accumbens circuit did not do this. Furthermore, optogenetic inactivation of the vHipp/mPFC pathway at the time of FST completely reversed ketamine's antidepressant response. In addition, we found that a transient increase in TrkB receptor phosphorylation in the vHipp contributes to ketamine's sustained antidepressant response. These data demonstrate that activity in the vHipp-mPFC pathway is both necessary and sufficient for the antidepressant-like effect of ketamine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience