Ketamine enhances structural plasticity in mouse mesencephalic and human iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons via AMPAR-driven BDNF and mTOR signaling

L Cavalleri, E Merlo Pich, M J Millan, C Chiamulera, T Kunath, P F Spano, G Collo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Among neurobiological mechanisms underlying antidepressant properties of ketamine, structural remodeling of prefrontal and hippocampal neurons has been proposed as critical. The suggested mechanism involves downstream activation of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors, which trigger mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent structural plasticity via brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and protein neo-synthesis. We evaluated whether ketamine elicits similar molecular events in dopaminergic (DA) neurons, known to be affected in mood disorders, using a novel, translational strategy that involved mouse mesencephalic and human induced pluripotent stem cells-derived DA neurons. Sixty minutes exposure to ketamine elicited concentration-dependent increases of dendritic arborization and soma size in both mouse and human cultures as measured 72 hours after application. These structural effects were blocked by mTOR complex/signaling inhibitors like rapamycin. Direct evidence of mTOR activation by ketamine was revealed by its induction of p70S6 kinase. All effects of ketamine were abolished by AMPA receptor antagonists and mimicked by the AMPA-positive allosteric modulator CX614. Inhibition of BDNF signaling prevented induction of structural plasticity by ketamine or CX614. Furthermore, the actions of ketamine required functionally intact dopamine D3 receptors (D3R), as its effects were abolished by selective D3R antagonists and absent in D3R knockout preparations. Finally, the ketamine metabolite (2R,6R)-hydroxynorketamine mimicked ketamine effects at sub-micromolar concentrations. These data indicate that ketamine elicits structural plasticity by recruitment of AMPAR, mTOR and BDNF signaling in both mouse mesencephalic and human induced pluripotent stem cells-derived DA neurons. These observations are of likely relevance to the influence of ketamine upon mood and its other functional actions in vivo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)812-823
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Volume23
Issue number4
Early online date21 Nov 2017
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Nov 2017

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