The role of adipokines in the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine

R. Machado-Vieira, P. W. Gold, D. A. Luckenbaugh, E. D. Ballard, E. M. Richards, I. D. Henter, R. T. De Sousa, M. J. Niciu, P. Yuan, C. A. Zarate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We previously found that body mass index (BMI) strongly predicted response to ketamine. Adipokines have a key role in metabolism (including BMI). They directly regulate inflammation and neuroplasticity pathways and also influence insulin sensitivity, bone metabolism and sympathetic outflow; all of these have been implicated in mood disorders. Here, we sought to examine the role of three key adipokines-adiponectin, resistin and leptin-as potential predictors of response to ketamine or as possible transducers of its therapeutic effects. Eighty treatment-resistant subjects who met DSM-IV criteria for either major depressive disorder (MDD) or bipolar disorder I/II and who were currently experiencing a major depressive episode received a single ketamine infusion (0.5 mg kg-1 for 40 min). Plasma adipokine levels were measured at three time points (pre-infusion baseline, 230 min post infusion and day 1 post infusion). Overall improvement and response were assessed using percent change from baseline on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. Lower baseline levels of adiponectin significantly predicted ketamine's antidepressant efficacy, suggesting an adverse metabolic state. Because adiponectin significantly improves insulin sensitivity and has potent anti-inflammatory effects, this finding suggests that specific systemic abnormalities might predict positive response to ketamine. A ketamine-induced decrease in resistin was also observed; because resistin is a potent pro-inflammatory compound, this decrease suggests that ketamine's anti-inflammatory effects may be transduced, in part, by its impact on resistin. Overall, the findings suggest that adipokines may either predict response to ketamine or have a role in its possible therapeutic effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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