Anita J Bechtholt-Gompf

Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

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Publications (5)31.52 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Major depression is associated with both dysregulated glutamatergic neurotransmission and fewer astrocytes in limbic areas including the prefrontal cortex (PFC). These deficits may be functionally related. Notably, astrocytes regulate glutamate levels by removing glutamate from the synapse via the glutamate transporter (GLT-1). Previously, we demonstrated that central blockade of GLT-1 induces anhedonia and c-Fos expression in the PFC. Given the role of the PFC in regulating mood, we hypothesized that GLT-1 blockade in the PFC alone would be sufficient to induce anhedonia in rats. We microinjected the GLT-1 inhibitor, dihydrokainic acid (DHK), into the PFC and examined the effects on mood using intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS). At lower doses, intra-PFC DHK produced modest increases in ICSS thresholds, reflecting a depressive-like effect. At higher doses, intra-PFC DHK resulted in cessation of responding. We conducted further tests to clarify whether this total cessation of responding was related to an anhedonic state (tested by sucrose intake), a nonspecific result of motor impairment (measured by the tape test), or seizure activity (measured with electroencephalogram (EEG)). The highest dose of DHK increased latency to begin drinking without altering total sucrose intake. Furthermore, neither motor impairment nor evidence of seizure activity was observed in the tape test or EEG recordings. A decrease in reward value followed by complete cessation of ICSS responding suggests an anhedonic-like effect of intra-PFC DHK; a conclusion that was substantiated by an increased latency to begin sucrose drinking. Overall, these results suggest that blockade of astrocytic glutamate uptake in the PFC is sufficient to produce anhedonia, a core symptom of depression.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 06/2012; 37(11):2467-75. DOI:10.1038/npp.2012.105 · 7.05 Impact Factor
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    Karyn M Myers · Anita J Bechtholt-Gompf · Brian R Coleman · William A Carlezon ·
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    ABSTRACT: Conditioned opiate withdrawal contributes to relapse in addicts and can be studied in rats by using the opiate withdrawal-induced conditioned place aversion (OW-CPA) paradigm. Attenuation of conditioned withdrawal through extinction may be beneficial in the treatment of addiction. Here we describe a protocol for studying OW-CPA extinction using a two-chambered place conditioning apparatus. Rats are made dependent on morphine through subcutaneous implantation of morphine pellets and then are trained to acquire OW-CPA through pairings of one chamber with naloxone-precipitated withdrawal and the other chamber with saline. Extinction training consists of re-exposures to both chambers in the absence of precipitated withdrawal. Rats tested after the completion of training show a decline in avoidance of the formerly naloxone-paired chamber with increasing numbers of extinction training sessions. The protocol takes a minimum of 7 d; the exact duration varies with the amount of extinction training, which is determined by the goals of the experiment.
    Nature Protocol 02/2012; 7(3):517-26. DOI:10.1038/nprot.2011.458 · 9.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In patients, ketamine is a fast-acting antidepressant that can induce long-lasting symptom relief. Similar rapid effects have been reported in rodents, but reports of lasting effects are limited. We sought to extend past findings by examining dose-response curves that overlap with the individual doses previously reported to induce lasting effects in rodents and determining whether effects generalize to the tail suspension test (TST) and Balb/cJ mice. Using common tests of antidepressant efficacy we first confirmed our ability to detect the effects of desipramine, a well-characterized antidepressant drug. Next, we sought to determine whether two non-competitive NMDA antagonists, ketamine and MK-801, had long-lasting antidepressant-like effects in CD-1 mice, a strain that has often been used to demonstrate the short-term antidepressant-like effects of ketamine. Finally, we examined the short- and long-term effects of ketamine in a mouse strain that is more sensitive to antidepressant-like effects, Balb/cJ mice. In CD-1 mice, desipramine treatment yielded significant short-term antidepressant-like effects in the TST and the forced swimming test (FST). However, no significant enduring effects of ketamine or MK-801 were observed 1 week later. Short-term effects of ketamine in the TST were observed in Balb/cJ mice, but lasting effects were absent 1 week later. Although the TST and FST have been widely used to detect antidepressant-like effects in mice, they do not appear to be sensitive to long-lasting antidepressant-like effects of ketamine in mice and, therefore, do not model the therapeutic effects of ketamine that have been reported in humans with major depression.
    Psychopharmacology 06/2011; 215(4):689-95. DOI:10.1007/s00213-011-2169-8 · 3.88 Impact Factor
  • Anita Bechtholt-Gompf · Karen Smith · Catherine John · Hannah Kang · William Carlezon · Bruce Cohen · Dost Ongür ·
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    ABSTRACT: We read with great interest the recent article CD-1 and Balb/cJ mice do not show enduring antidepressant-like effects of ketamine in tests of acute antidepressant efficacy by Bechtholt-Gompf et al. (in press). In that study, the tail suspension test (TST) and forced swimming test (FST) were not sensitive to long-lasting antidepressant-like effects of ketamine in mice. We appreciate this study and would like to discuss an issue relevant to this article. The authors administrated high-dose ketamine to observe the behavioral changes in the FST and TST. However, the administration of ketamine 25 mg/kg induces an immediate behavioral activation, characterized by hyperlocomotion,
    Psychopharmacology 06/2011; 215(4):815-6. DOI:10.1007/s00213-011-2309-1 · 3.88 Impact Factor
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    Anita J Bechtholt-Gompf · Hali V Walther · Martha A Adams · William A Carlezon · Dost Ongür · Bruce M Cohen ·
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    ABSTRACT: Mood disorders are associated with regional brain abnormalities, including reductions in glial cell and neuron number, glutamatergic irregularities, and differential patterns of brain activation. Because astrocytes are modulators of neuronal activity and are important in trafficking the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, it is possible that these pathologies are interrelated and contribute to some of the behavioral signs that characterize depression and related disorders. We tested this hypothesis by determining whether depressive-like signs were induced by blocking central astrocytic glutamate uptake with the astrocytic glutamate transporter (GLT-1) inhibitor, dihydrokainic acid (DHK), in behavioral tests that quantify aspects of mood, including reward and euthymia/dysthymia: intracranial self-stimulation (ICSS) and place conditioning. We found that DHK elevated ICSS thresholds, a depressive-like effect that could reflect reduced sensitivity to reward (anhedonia) or increased aversion (dysphoria). However, DHK treatment did not establish conditioned place aversions, suggesting that this treatment does not induce dysphoria. To identify the brain regions mediating the behavioral effects of DHK, we examined c-Fos expression in areas implicated in motivation and emotion. DHK increased c-Fos expression in many of these regions. The dentate gyrus of the hippocampus was robustly activated, which led us to explore whether DHK alters hippocampal learning. DHK impaired spatial memory in the MWM. These findings identify disruption of astrocyte glutamate uptake as one component of the complex circuits that mediate anhedonia and cognitive impairment, both of which are common symptoms of depression. These finding may have implications for the etiology of depression and other disorders that share the features of anhedonia and cognitive impairment.
    Neuropsychopharmacology: official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology 09/2010; 35(10):2049-59. DOI:10.1038/npp.2010.74 · 7.05 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

102 Citations
31.52 Total Impact Points


  • 2012
    • Harvard Medical School
      • Department of Psychiatry
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2010-2012
    • McLean Hospital
      • Behavioral Genetics Laboratory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2011
    • Harvard University
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States