Neurochemical Research

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 829–838 | Cite as

Effects of Anesthetic Ketamine on Anxiety-Like Behaviour in Rats

  • Nikolaos PitsikasEmail author
  • Georgia Georgiadou
  • Foteini Delis
  • Katerina Antoniou
Original Paper


There is scarce information regarding the effects of anesthetic doses of the non-competitive N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist ketamine on anxiety. The current study evaluated the acute effects of intraperitoneally (i.p.) administered anesthetic ketamine (100 mg/kg) i.p. on anxiety in rats. For this purpose, the light/dark and the open field tests were utilized. The effects of anesthetic ketamine on motility were also examined using a motility cage. In the light/dark test, anesthetic ketamine, administered 24 h before testing reduced the number of transitions between the light and dark compartments and the time spent in the light compartment in the rats compared with their control cohorts. In addition, ketamine was found to exert a depressive effect on rats’ motility. In the open field test, animals treated with anesthetic ketamine 24 h before testing spent essentially no time in the central area of the apparatus, decreased horizontal ambulatory activity, and preserved to a certain extent their exploratory behaviour compared to their control counterparts. The results suggest that, in spite of its hypokinetic effect, a single anesthetic ketamine administration apparently induces an anxiety-like state, while largely preserving exploratory behaviour in the rat. These effects were time-dependent they since they were extinguished when testing was carried out 48 h after anesthetic ketamine administration.


Anesthetic ketamine Anxiety Rat 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to authorship and/or publication of this article.

Research Involving Animal Rights

All applicable international and national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikolaos Pitsikas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Georgia Georgiadou
    • 1
  • Foteini Delis
    • 2
  • Katerina Antoniou
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of ThessalyLarissaGreece
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health SciencesUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece

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