Preclinical studies indicate that high-frequency oscillations, above 100 Hz (HFO:100–170 Hz), are a potential translatable biomarker for pharmacological studies, with the rapid acting antidepressant ketamine increasing both gamma (40–100 Hz) and HFO.
To assess the effect of the uncompetitive NMDA antagonist ketamine, and of D-cycloserine (DCS), which acts at the glycine site on NMDA receptors on HFO in humans.
We carried out a partially double-blind, 4-way crossover study in 24 healthy male volunteers. Each participant received an oral tablet and an intravenous infusion on each of four study days. The oral treatment was either DCS (250 mg or 1000 mg) or placebo. The infusion contained 0.5 mg/kg ketamine or saline placebo. The four study conditions were therefore placebo-placebo, 250 mg DCS-placebo, 1000 mg DCS-placebo, or placebo-ketamine.
Compared with placebo, frontal midline HFO magnitude was increased by ketamine (p = 0.00014) and 1000 mg DCS (p = 0.013). Frontal gamma magnitude was also increased by both these treatments. However, at a midline parietal location, only HFO were increased by DCS, and not gamma, whilst ketamine increased both gamma and HFO at this location. Ketamine induced psychomimetic effects, as measured by the PSI scale, whereas DCS did not increase the total PSI score. The perceptual distortion subscale scores correlated with the posterior low gamma to frontal high beta ratio.
Our results suggest that, at high doses, a partial NMDA agonist (DCS) has similar effects on fast neural oscillations as an NMDA antagonist (ketamine). As HFO were induced without psychomimetic effects, they may prove a useful drug development target.