Ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic most commonly used in many pediatric procedures, has been reported in many animal studies to cause widespread neuroapoptosis in the neonatal brain after exposure in high doses and/or for a prolonged period. This neurodegenerative change occurs most severely in the forebrain including the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) that is an important brain structure for mediating a variety of cognitive functions. However, it is still unknown whether such apoptotic neurodegeneration early in life would subsequently impair the synaptic plasticity of the ACC later in life. In this study, we performed whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from the ACC brain slices of young adult rats to examine any alterations in long-term synaptic plasticity caused by neonatal ketamine exposure. Ketamine was administered at postnatal day 4-7 (subcutaneous injections, 20mg/kg given six times, once every 2h). At 3-4weeks of age, long-term potentiation (LTP) was induced and recorded by monitoring excitatory postsynaptic currents from ACC slices. We found that the induction of LTP in the ACC was significantly reduced when compared to the control group. The LTP impairment was accompanied by an increase in the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-me...Continue Reading
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