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Ketamine disrupts gaze patterns during face viewing in the common marmoset

By David J. Schaeffer, Janahan Selvanayagam, Raymond K. Wong, Kevin Johnston, Stefan Everling

Posted 17 Feb 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.02.16.431438

Faces are stimuli of critical importance for primates. The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) is a promising model for investigations of face processing, as this species possesses oculomotor and face processing networks resembling those of macaques and humans. Face processing is often disrupted in neuropsychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia (SZ) and thus it is important to recapitulate underlying circuitry dysfunction preclinically. The N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) non-competitive antagonist ketamine has been used extensively to model the cognitive symptoms of SZ. Here, we investigated the effects of a subanesthetic dose of ketamine on oculomotor behaviour in marmosets during face viewing. Four marmosets received systemic ketamine or saline injections while viewing phase-scrambled or intact videos of conspecifics' faces. To evaluate effects of ketamine on scan paths during face viewing, we identified regions of interest in each face video, and classified locations of saccade onsets and landing positions within these areas. A preference for the snout over eye regions was observed following ketamine administration. In addition, regions in which saccades landed could be significantly predicted by saccade onset region in the saline but not the ketamine condition. No significant drug effects were observed for phase-scrambled videos. Effects on saccade control were limited to a reduction in saccade amplitudes during viewing of scrambled videos. Thus, ketamine induced a significant disruption of scan paths during viewing of conspecific faces but limited effects on saccade motor control. These findings support the use of ketamine in marmosets for investigating changes in neural circuits underlying social cognition in neuropsychiatric disorders.

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