Ketamine Alleviates Fear Generalization Through GluN2B-BDNF Signaling in Mice
Fear memories are critical for survival. Nevertheless, over-generalization of these memories, depicted by a failure to distinguish threats from safe stimuli, is typical in stress-related disorders. Previous studies have supported a protective role of ketamine against stress-induced depressive behavior. However, the effect of ketamine on fear generalization remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of ketamine on fear generalization in a fear-generalized mouse model. The mice were given a single sub-anesthetic dose of ketamine (30 mg/kg, i.p.) 1 h before, 1 week before, immediately after, or 22 h after fear conditioning. The behavioral measure of fear (indicated by freezing level) and synaptic protein expression in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and inferior-limbic pre-frontal cortex (IL-PFC) of mice were examined. We found that only ketamine administered 22 h after fear conditioning significantly decreased the fear generalization, and the effect was dose-dependent and lasted for at least 2 weeks. The fear-generalized mice showed a lower level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and a higher level of GluN2B protein in the BLA and IL-PFC, and this was reversed by a single administration of ketamine. Moreover, the GluN2B antagonist ifenprodil decreased the fear generalization when infused into the IL-PFC, but had no effect when infused into the BLA. Infusion of ANA-12 (an antagonist of the BDNF receptor TrkB) into the BLA or IL-PFC blocked the effect of ketamine on fear generalization. These findings support the conclusion that a single dose of ketamine administered 22 h after fear conditioning alleviates the fear memory generalization in mice and the GluN2B-related BDNF signaling pathway plays an important role in the alleviation of fear generalization.
KeywordsKetamine Fear generalization Post-traumatic stress disorder BDNF GluN2B GluN2A
This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81530061 and 81471829), the Pearl River Nova Program of Guangzhou (201610010154), and the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province China (2017A030313095).
Conflict of interest
All authors claim that there are no conflicts of interest.
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