Ketamine receptor effects


Most intravenous anesthetic agents increasing inhibatory through direct stimulation or potentiation GABA-mediated inhibatory tone.  Ketanmine does NOT interact directly with the GABA recepror.  Ketamine dose interacts with multiple other targets, including NMDA and non-NMDA glutamate receptors, nicotinic and muscarinic cholinergic, monoaminergic, and opioid receptors. In addition, interactions with voltage-dependent ion channels such as Na and L-type Ca channels have been described.  While all of these interactions may be important, it is thought that its action as a non-competitive antagoist at the NMDA receptor account for Ketamine’s analgesic, amnestic, and psychotomimetic effects.


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  1. K Hirota, D G Lambert Ketamine: its mechanism(s) of action and unusual clinical uses. Br J Anaesth: 1996, 77(4);441-4 [PubMed:8942324]

  2. R Kohrs, M E Durieux Ketamine: teaching an old drug new tricks. Anesth. Analg.: 1998, 87(5);1186-93 [PubMed:9806706]