Year: 2022 Source: Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry. (2022). 115. SIEC No: 20220064

Background: Sub-anesthetic ketamine doses rapidly reduce depressive symptoms, although additional investigations of the underlying neural mechanisms and the prediction of response outcomes are needed.  Electroencephalographic (EEG)-derived measures have shown promise in predicting antidepressant response to a variety of treatments, and are sensitive to ketamine administration. This study examined their utility in characterizing changes in depressive symptoms following single and repeated ketamine infusions.
Methods: Recordings were obtained from patients with treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD) (N= 24) enrolled in a multi-phase clinical ketamine trial. During the randomized, double-blind, crossover phase (Phase 1), patients received intravenous ketamine (0.5 mg/kg) and midazolam (30 μg/kg), at least 1 week apart. For each medication, three resting, eyes-closed recordings were obtained per session (pre-infusion, immediately post-infusion, 2 h post-infusion), and changes in power (delta, theta1/2/total, alpha1/2/total, beta, gamma), alpha asymmetry, theta cordance, and theta source-localized anterior cingulate cortex activity were quantified. The relationships between ketamine-induced changes with early (Phase 1) and sustained (Phases 2,3: open-label repeated infusions) decreases in depressive symptoms (Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Score, MADRS) and suicidal ideation (MADRS item 10) were examined.
Results: Both medications decreased alpha and theta immediately post-infusion, however, only midazolam increased delta (post-infusion), and only ketamine increased gamma (immediately post- and 2 h post-infusion). Regional- and frequency-specific ketamine-induced EEG changes were related to and predictive of decreases in depressive symptoms (theta, gamma) and suicidal ideation (alpha). Early and sustained treatment responders differed at baseline in surface-level and source-localized theta.
Conclusions: Ketamine exerts frequency-specific changes on EEG-derived measures, which are related to depressive symptom decreases in treatment-resistant MDD and provide information regarding early and sustained individual response to ketamine.