Experimental brain research

Chronic deep brain stimulation of the medial forebrain bundle reverses depressive-like behavior in a hemiparkinsonian rodent model.

PMID 26195164


Preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that depression might be associated with a dysfunction in the reward/motivation circuitry. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the superolateral branch of the medial forebrain bundle (MFB) has been shown in a recent clinical trial to provide a prompt and consistent improvement of depressive symptoms in treatment-resistant patients. In order to better understand the underlying mechanisms of neuromodulation in the context of depression, the effects of chronic bilateral MFB-DBS were assessed in a combined rodent model of depression and Parkinson's disease. Female Sprague-Dawley rats received unilateral 6-OHDA injection in the right MFB and were divided into three groups: CMS-STIM, CMS-noSTIM and control group. The CMS groups were submitted to chronic unpredictable mild stress (CMS) protocol for 6xa0weeks. MFB-DBS was applied only to the CMS-STIM group for 1xa0week. All groups were repeatedly probed on a series of behavioral tasks following each intervention, and to a postmortem histological analysis. CMS led to an increase in immobility in the forced swim test, to a decrease in sucrose solution consumption in the sucrose preference test, as well as to an increased production of ultrasonic vocalizations in the 22xa0kHz range, indicating increased negative affect. MFB-DBS reversed the anhedonic-like and despair-like behaviors. The results suggest that unilateral dopamine depletion did not preclude MFB-DBS in reversing depressive-like and anhedonic-like behavior in the rodent. Further understanding of the importance of hemispheric dominance in neuropsychiatric disorders is essential in order to optimize stimulation as a therapeutic strategy in these diseases.