The effects of ketamine on sexual behavior, anxiety, and locomotion in female rats

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Abstract

The present study characterized the effects of ketamine on sexual behavior and anxiety in female rats. In Experiment 1, female subjects received an injection of ketamine (10.0 mg/kg) or saline 30 min prior to a sexual partner-preference test during which each female subject was given the opportunity to interact with a female stimulus or a sexually vigorous male stimulus. Immediately afterwards, female subjects were tested for locomotion in an open field test. Ketamine-treated subjects spent significantly more time with the male stimulus than saline-treated subjects. No other measures of mating behavior (i.e., paced mating behavior, lordosis) were affected by ketamine. Ketamine also had no effect on locomotion. In Experiment 2, female subjects received an injection of ketamine (10.0 mg/kg), or saline daily for 10 days to investigate the possibility that sexual dysfunction emerges only after repeated exposure. Similar to the results of Experiment 1, ketamine-treated subjects spent significantly more time with the male stimulus than saline-treated subjects. Chronic ketamine treatment also decreased the likelihood of leaving the male after mounts, without affecting any other measures of sexual behavior. Chronic ketamine had no effect on locomotion. In Experiment 3, female subjects received an injection of ketamine (10.0 mg/kg) or saline and were tested for anxiety in an elevated plus maze test and for locomotion in an open field test. Acute ketamine had no effect on anxiety or locomotion. In Experiment 4, female subjects received an injection of ketamine (10.0 mg/kg) or saline daily for 10 days to investigate the possibility that anxiety emerges only after repeated exposure. Chronic ketamine exposure had no effect on any measure of anxiety. However, chronic ketamine exposure increased locomotion. The results from these experiments indicate that unlike other medications prescribed for depression, neither acute nor chronic ketamine treatment causes anxiety or disruption of sexual behavior.

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