Chu, X. 2019. Preliminary validation of natural depression in macaques with acute treatments of the fast-acting antidepressant ketamine. Behavioural Brain Research 360, 60-68.

Non-human primates have become one of the most important model animals for the investigation of brain diseases because they share a wide-range of genetics and social similarities with human beings. Naturally-evoked depression models in macaques may offer a full spectrum of similarity to human depression states, but they require validation and corroboration of specific phenotypes to depression-associated states before they can be used in research into more effective interventions. It is reported here that depressed cynomolgus monkeys developed in the natural condition display higher levels of typical depressive-like huddling behavior than healthy monkeys. Moreover, these depressed macaques presented other key phenotypes linked to depression, including low levels of cerebrospinal fluid monoamine neurotransmitters and their metabolites, increased passive states, reduced positive behaviors and disrupted nocturnal sleep. When subjected to an acute subanesthetic dose of ketamine, the depressed monkeys responded substantially in rapid and sustained antidepressant-like ways, which demonstrated decreased huddling behavior, an elevated interest in exploration activities and sleep improvement. Taken together, this naturally-evoked depression monkey model was systematically validated for ecological, face, construct and predictive validities. This model will serve as a qualified platform for studying depression in the future.

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