pISSN 1226-4512 eISSN 2093-3827


home Article View

Original Article

Korean Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology 2019; 23(1): 81-87

Published online January 1, 2019 https://doi.org/10.4196/kjpp.2019.23.1.81

Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.

Chronic administration of ketamine ameliorates the anxiety- and aggressive-like behavior in adolescent mice induced by neonatal maternal separation

Sang Yep Shin#, Nam Jun Baek#, Seung Ho Han*, Sun Seek Min*

Department of Physiology and Biophysics, School of Medicine, Eulji University, Daejeon 34824, Korea

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Ketamine has long been used as an anesthetic agent. However, ketamine use is associated with numerous side effects, including flashbacks, amnesia, delirium, and aggressive or violent behavior. Ketamine has also been abused as a cocktail with ecstasy, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Several studies have investigated therapeutic applications of ketamine, demonstrating its antidepressant and anxiolytic effects in both humans and rodents. We recently reported that neonatal maternal separation causes enhanced anxiety- and aggressive-like behaviors in adolescent. In the present study, we evaluated how acute and chronic ketamine administration affected the behavioral consequences of neonatal maternal separation in adolescent mice. Litters were separated from dams for 4 hours per day for 19 days beginning after weaning. Upon reaching adolescence (post-natal day 35-49), mice were acutely (single injection) or chronically (7 daily injections) treated with a sub-anesthetic dose (15 mg/kg) of ketamine. At least 1 h after administration of ketamine, mice were subjected to open-field, elevated-plus maze, and resident-intruder tests. We found that acute ketamine treatment reduced locomotor activity. In contrast, chronic ketamine treatment decreased anxiety, as evidenced by increased time spent on open arms in the elevated-plus maze, and remarkably reduced the number and duration of attacks. In conclusion, the present study suggests that ketamine has potential for the treatment of anxiety and aggressive or violent behaviors.

Keywords: Adolescence, Aggression, Anxiety, Ketamine, Maternal separation