A PK-PD model of ketamine-induced high-frequency oscillations

Francisco J. Flores, Shinung Ching, Katharine Hartnack, Amanda B. Fath, Patrick L. Purdon, Matthew A. Wilson, Emery N. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective. Ketamine is a widely used drug with clinical and research applications, and also known to be used as a recreational drug. Ketamine produces conspicuous changes in the electrocorticographic (ECoG) signals observed both in humans and rodents. In rodents, the intracranial ECoG displays a high-frequency oscillation (HFO) which power is modulated nonlinearly by ketamine dose. Despite the widespread use of ketamine there is no model description of the relationship between the pharmacokinetic-pharmacodynamics (PK-PDs) of ketamine and the observed HFO power. Approach. In the present study, we developed a PK-PD model based on estimated ketamine concentration, its known pharmacological actions, and observed ECoG effects. The main pharmacological action of ketamine is antagonism of the NMDA receptor (NMDAR), which in rodents is accompanied by an HFO observed in the ECoG. At high doses, however, ketamine also acts at non-NMDAR sites, produces loss of consciousness, and the transient disappearance of the HFO. We propose a two-compartment PK model that represents the concentration of ketamine, and a PD model based in opposing effects of the NMDAR and non-NMDAR actions on the HFO power. Main results. We recorded ECoG from the cortex of rats after two doses of ketamine, and extracted the HFO power from the ECoG spectrograms. We fit the PK-PD model to the time course of the HFO power, and showed that the model reproduces the dose-dependent profile of the HFO power. The model provides good fits even in the presence of high variability in HFO power across animals. As expected, the model does not provide good fits to the HFO power after dosing the pure NMDAR antagonist MK-801. Significance. Our study provides a simple model to relate the observed electrophysiological effects of ketamine to its actions at the molecular level at different concentrations. This will improve the study of ketamine and rodent models of schizophrenia to better understand the wide and divergent range of effects that ketamine has.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056006
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 13 2015


  • NMDAR antagonists
  • high-frequency oscillation
  • in vivo recording
  • ketamine
  • nonlinear least squares
  • pharmacodynamic
  • pharmacokinetic


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