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Chronic unilateral stimulation of the nucleus accumbens at high or low frequencies attenuates relapse to cocaine seeking in an animal model


Hamilton, J and Lee, J and Canales, JJ, Chronic unilateral stimulation of the nucleus accumbens at high or low frequencies attenuates relapse to cocaine seeking in an animal model, Brain stimulation, 8, (1) pp. 57-63. ISSN 1935-861X (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.brs.2014.09.018


Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS), a form of neurosurgical intervention that is used to modulate the electrophysiological activity of specific brain areas, has emerged as a form of therapy for severe cases of treatment-refractory addiction.

Objective/Hypothesis: Recent research suggests that the nucleus accumbens (NAC) is a promising target area for DBS in addiction. The current experiments were designed to determine optimal parameters of stimulation and long-term efficacy of NAC DBS in an animal model of cocaine addiction.

Methods: Rats were implanted with a stimulating electrode in the right NAC and exposed to chronic cocaine self-administration (0.5 mg/kg/infusion). Rats underwent drug seeking tests by exposing them to the self-administration context paired with cocaine challenge (5 mg/kg i.p.) on days 1, 15 and 30 after withdrawal from cocaine self-administration. Low-frequency (LF, 20 Hz) or high-frequency (HF, 160 Hz) DBS was applied for 30 min daily for 14 consecutive days starting one day after drug withdrawal.

Results: Rats exhibited robust drug-seeking 1, 15 and 30 days after withdrawal from cocaine self-administration, with responding being highest on day 15. Both LF and HF attenuated cocaine seeking on day 15 post-withdrawal by 36 and 48%, respectively. Both forms of stimulation were ineffective on the tests conducted on days 1 and 30.

Conclusion: The present data showed that unilateral DBS of the NAC effectively attenuated cocaine relapse after 15 days of drug withdrawal, with therapeutic-like effects seemingly diminishing after DBS discontinuation. This evidence provides support for DBS as a promising intervention in intractable cases of stimulant addiction.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Addiction; Cocaine; Deep brain stimulation; Nucleus accumbens; Relapse
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Biological psychology
Research Field:Behavioural neuroscience
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Canales, JJ (Professor Juan Canales)
ID Code:121260
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:17
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2017-09-20
Last Modified:2017-09-20

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