Honors College

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Honors Thesis

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The focus of this experiment was to test the possible anti-depressant effects of ketamine in a novel model of alcohol withdrawal-induced depression in mice. In this model, inbred mice show long-term strain-dependent reductions in locomotor (running wheel) activity after chronic intermittent ethanol exposure via vapor chambers. Since wheel-running is rewarding and has antidepressant effects, we believe that reduced locomotion following ethanol withdrawal may reflect a depression-like syndrome resembling that seen in many abstinent alcoholics. Nevertheless, in a previous experiment we were unable to reverse this locomotor deficit using Desipramine, a norepinephrine-selective reuptake inhibitor with behavioral activating properties. Since low-dose ketamine has demonstrated rapid onset antidepressant effects in both human patients and animal models, we tested the ability of single ketamine injections to increase wheel-running in ethanol-withdrawn mice. Preliminary results indicate that ketamine was ineffective in this model, at least at the dose and treatment regimen employed.

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