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BMC Anesthesiol 2016 Apr 18;16:23. doi: 10.1186/s12871-016-0188-z.
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Early ketamine exposure results in cardiac enlargement and heart dysfunction in Xenopus embryos.

Guo R , Liu G , Du M , Shi Y , Jiang P , Liu X , Liu L , Liu J , Xu Y .

Ketamine is a commonly used clinical anesthetic and a popular recreational drug. However, with the exception of studies about the nervous system, studies about the effect of early ketamine exposure on embryos are rare. Xenopus laevis is a commonly used vertebrate model for assessing teratogenicity. Therefore, we treated Xenopus embryos with ketamine to evaluate its teratogenicity on embryos. Xenopus embryos were treated with ketamine from stages 8 to 21. Embryonic and cardiac morphology were analyzed using living embryo imaging and whole-mount RNA in situ hybridization (WMISH). Heart function was measured by heart rate and ventricular shortening fraction (VSF). The mRNA expression levels of several heart development-related genes were determined by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). The protein expression levels of XMLC2, phospho-histone H3 (pH3) and histone H3 were determined by western blot. Ketamine caused concentration-dependent increases in mortality and shortening of body length. At a dose of 0.5 mg/ml, ketamine exposure resulted in cardiac enlargement as the primary manifestation of several malformations: gut defects, a curved axis and shortened body length. Cardiac cells underwent increased proliferation. Moreover, the heart rate and ventricular shortening fraction were decreased, findings indicative of heart dysfunction. XMLC2 expression levels were down-regulated at stages 28, 32/33, 35/36 and 46. Ketamine exposure during early development has teratogenic effects on Xenopus embryos. The heart enlargement and decreased VSF may result from the down-regulation of XMLC2 mRNA and protein levels. These findings provide new insight into the potential fetal defects induced by ketamine exposure during early pregnancy.

PubMed ID: 27091482
PMC ID: PMC4836076
Article link: BMC Anesthesiol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: gata4 gata6 myh4 myl1 myl2 nkx2-5 tnni3

Phenotypes: Xla Wt + Ketamine (B) [+]

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Brambrink, Ketamine-induced neuroapoptosis in the fetal and neonatal rhesus macaque brain. 2012, Pubmed