Novel Antidepressant and Its Effects on Stress Related Behaviors and Cognitive Learning in Fish

Hannah Mullinax Ball State University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Jessica Ward Ball State University
Emerging evidence suggests that ketamine, a pharmaceutical often prescribed for off-label use as an antidepressant, may be an effective intervention for the treatment of major depressive disorders. Specifically, ketamine works quicker and more effectively than traditional antidepressants because of its ability to rapidly pass the blood brain barrier. However, few studies have been conducted to assess the effects of ketamine on behavior and organismal function; consequently, it is not yet approved by the FDA for use as an antidepressant. Robust studies of animal models are a first step towards understanding the potential utility of a novel medical therapy. Therefore, in vivo studies of the effects of ketamine are a high research priority. In this study, we evaluated the effects of ketamine on stress-related behaviors and cognitive learning in a fish model. Mature zebrafish (Danio rerio) were exposed to either 0, 5, 20, or 40 mg/L ketamine for 1 h before being tested in behavioral assays. We quantified changes in the exploratory behavior of fish in novel environments, including a narrow dive tank and a dark-light tank. We also utilized a plus maze to evaluate the influence of ketamine on simple associative learning. We found detectable effects of ketamine on both stress-related behaviors and cognitive learning. These results will contribute to a growing body of knowledge on the utility of ketamine for use as an antidepressant.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

10:45 AM
Gallahue Hall 105