In rodent models of depression, (R)-ketamine has greater potency and longer-lasting antidepressant effects than (S)-ketamine; however, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying the antidepressant actions of (R)-ketamine remain unknown. Using RNA-sequencing analysis, we identified novel molecular targets that contribute to the different antidepressant effects of the two enantiomers. Either (R)-ketamine (10 mg/kg) or (S)-ketamine (10 mg/kg) was administered to susceptible mice after chronic social defeat stress (CSDS). RNA-sequencing analysis of prefrontal cortex (PFC) and subsequent GSEA (gene set enrichment analysis) revealed that transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signaling might contribute to the different antidepressant effects of the two enantiomers. (R)-ketamine, but not (S)-ketamine, ameliorated the reduced expressions of Tgfb1 and its receptors (Tgfbr1 and Tgfbr2) in the PFC and hippocampus of CSDS susceptible mice. Either pharmacological inhibitors (i.e., RepSox and SB431542) or neutralizing antibody of TGF-β1 blocked the antidepressant effects of (R)-ketamine in CSDS susceptible mice. Moreover, depletion of microglia by the colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) inhibitor PLX3397 blocked the antidepressant effects of (R)-ketamine in CSDS susceptible mice. Similar to (R)-ketamine, the recombinant TGF-β1 elicited rapid and long-lasting antidepressant effects in animal models of depression. Our data implicate a novel microglial TGF-β1-dependent mechanism underlying the antidepressant effects of (R)-ketamine in rodents with depression-like phenotype. Moreover, TGF-β1 and its receptor agonists would likely constitute a novel rapid-acting and sustained antidepressant in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Biological Psychiatry