Plasma metabolomic profiling of a ketamine and placebo crossover trial of major depressive disorder and healthy control subjects.

Therapeutic Approaches
Clinical Trial


(R,S)-Ketamine produces rapid, robust, and sustained antidepressant effects in major depressive disorder. Specifically, its pharmacological efficacy in treatment refractory depression is considered a major breakthrough in the field. However, the mechanism of action of ketamine's rapid effect remains to be determined. In order to identify pathways that are responsible for ketamine's effect, a targeted metabolomic approach was carried out using a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design, with infusion order randomized with medication-free patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (29 subjects) and healthy controls (25 subjects). The metabolomic profile of these subjects was characterized at multiple time points, and a comprehensive analysis was investigated between the following: MDD and healthy controls, treatment and placebo in both groups and the corresponding response to ketamine treatment. Ketamine treatment resulted in a general increase in circulating sphingomyelins, levels which were not correlated with response. Ketamine response resulted in more pronounced effects in the kynurenine pathway and the arginine pathway at 4 h post-infusion, where a larger decrease in circulating kynurenine levels and a larger increase in the bioavailability of arginine were observed in responders to ketamine treatment, suggesting possible mechanisms for response to ketamine treatment.


Moaddel, Ruin; Shardell, Michelle; Khadeer, Mohammed; Lovett, Jacqueline; Kadriu, Bashkim; Ravichandran, Sarangan; Morris, Patrick; Yuan, Peixiong; Thomas, Craig; Gould, Todd D; Ferrucci, Luigi; Zarate, Carlos A;

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