Ketamine-induced modulation of the thalamo-cortical network in healthy volunteers as a model for schizophrenia

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

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


© The Author 2015. Background: Schizophrenia has been associated with disturbances of thalamic functioning. In light of recent evidence suggesting a significant impact of the glutamatergic system on key symptoms of schizophrenia, we assessed whether modulation of the glutamatergic system via blockage of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA)-receptor might lead to changes of thalamic functional connectivity. Methods: Based on the ketamine model of psychosis, we investigated changes in cortico-thalamic functional connectivity by intravenous ketamine challenge during a 55-minute resting-state scan. Thirty healthy volunteers were measured with pharmacological functional magnetic resonance imaging using a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover design. Results: Functional connectivity analysis revealed significant ketamine-specific changes within the thalamus hub network, more precisely, an increase of cortico-thalamic connectivity of the somatosensory and temporal cortex. Conclusions: Our results indicate that changes of thalamic functioning as described for schizophrenia can be partly mimicked by NMDA-receptor blockage. This adds substantial knowledge about the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the profound changes of perception and behavior during the application of NMDA-receptor antagonists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Functional MRI
  • Glutamate
  • Ketamine
  • Schizophrenia
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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