Ketamine-dependent neuronal activation in healthy volunteers

A. Höflich, A. Hahn, M. Küblböck, Georg Kranz, T. Vanicek, S. Ganger, M. Spies, C. Windischberger, S. Kasper, D. Winkler, R. Lanzenberger

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Over the last years, a number of studies have been conducted to clarify the neurobiological correlates of ketamine application. However, comprehensive information regarding the influence of ketamine on cortical activity is still lacking. Using resting-state functional MRI and integrating pharmacokinetic information, a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover study was performed to determine the effects of ketamine on neuronal activation. During a 55 min resting-state fMRI scan, esketamine (Ketanest S®) was administered intravenously to 35 healthy volunteers. Neural activation as indicated by the BOLD signal using the pharmacokinetic curve of ketamine plasma levels as a regressor was computed. Compared with placebo, ketamine-dependent increases of neural activation were observed in the midcingulate cortex, the dorsal part of the anterior cingulate cortex, the insula bilaterally, and the thalamus (t values ranging between 5.95-9.78, p < 0.05; FWE-corrected). A significant decrease of neural activation in the ketamine condition compared to placebo was found in a cluster within the subgenual/subcallosal part of the anterior cingulate cortex, the orbitofrontal cortex and the gyrus rectus (t = 7.81, p < 0.05, FWE-corrected). Using an approach combining pharmacological and fMRI data, important information about the neurobiological correlates of the clinical antidepressant effects of ketamine could be revealed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1533-1542
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Anterior cingulate gyrus
  • fMRI
  • Insula
  • Ketamine
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • General Neuroscience
  • Histology


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