The long-lasting antidepressant effects of rapastinel (GLYX-13) are associated with a metaplasticity process in the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus

J. Burgdorf, X. L. Zhang, C. Weiss, A. Gross, S. R. Boikess, R. A. Kroes, M. A. Khan, R. M. Burch, C. S. Rex, J. F. Disterhoft, P. K. Stanton, J. R. Moskal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Rapastinel (GLYX-13) is an N-methyl- d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) modulator that has characteristics of a glycine site partial agonist. Rapastinel is a robust cognitive enhancer and facilitates hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic transmission in slices. In human clinical trials, rapastinel has been shown to produce marked antidepressant properties that last for at least one week following a single dose. The long-lasting antidepressant effect of a single dose of rapastinel (3. mg/kg IV) was assessed in rats using the Porsolt, open field and ultrasonic vocalization assays. Cognitive enhancement was examined using the Morris water maze, positive emotional learning, and contextual fear extinction tests. LTP was assessed in hippocampal slices. Dendritic spine morphology was measured in the dentate gyrus and the medial prefrontal cortex. Significant antidepressant-like or cognitive enhancing effects were observed that lasted for at least one week in each model. Rapastinel facilitated LTP 1. day-2. weeks but not 4. weeks post-dosing. Biweekly dosing with rapastinel sustained this effect for at least 8. weeks. A single dose of rapastinel increased the proportion of whole-cell NMDAR current contributed by NR2B-containing NMDARs in the hippocampus 1. week post-dosing, that returned to baseline by 4. weeks post-dosing. The NMDAR antagonist 3-(2-carboxypiperazin-4-yl)propyl-1-phosphonic acid (CPP) blocked the antidepressant-like effect of rapastinel 1. week post dosing. A single injection of rapastinel also increased mature spine density in both brain regions 24. h post-dosing. These data demonstrate that rapastinel produces its long-lasting antidepressant effects via triggering NMDAR-dependent processes that lead to increased sensitivity to LTP that persist for up to two weeks. These data also suggest that these processes led to the alterations in dendritic spine morphologies associated with the maintenance of long-term changes in synaptic plasticity associated with learning and memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-211
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Nov 12 2015


  • Depression
  • GLYX-13
  • Hippocampus
  • LTP
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • NMDA receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The long-lasting antidepressant effects of rapastinel (GLYX-13) are associated with a metaplasticity process in the medial prefrontal cortex and hippocampus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this