Mood Regulatory Actions of Active and Sham Nucleus Accumbens Deep Brain Stimulation in Antidepressant Resistant Rats

Rajas P. Kale, Thanh Thanh L. Nguyen, J. Blair Price, Nathanael J. Yates, Ken Walder, Michael Berk, Roy V. Sillitoe, Abbas Z. Kouzani, Susannah J. Tye

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The antidepressant actions of deep brain stimulation (DBS) are associated with progressive neuroadaptations within the mood network, modulated in part, by neurotrophic mechanisms. We investigated the antidepressant-like effects of chronic nucleus accumbens (NAc) DBS and its association with change in glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK3) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) expression in the infralimbic cortex (IL), and the dorsal (dHIP) and ventral (vHIP) subregions of the hippocampus of antidepressant resistant rats. Antidepressant resistance was induced via daily injection of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH; 100 μg/day; 15 days) and confirmed by non-response to tricyclic antidepressant treatment (imipramine, 10 mg/kg). Portable microdevices provided continuous bilateral NAc DBS (130 Hz, 200 μA, 90 μs) for 7 days. A control sham electrode group was included, together with ACTH- and saline-treated control groups. Home cage monitoring, open field, sucrose preference, and, forced swim behavioral tests were performed. Post-mortem levels of GSK3 and mTOR, total and phosphorylated, were determined with Western blot. As previously reported, ACTH treatment blocked the immobility-reducing effects of imipramine in the forced swim test. In contrast, treatment with either active DBS or sham electrode placement in the NAc significantly reduced forced swim immobility time in ACTH-treated animals. This was associated with increased homecage activity in the DBS and sham groups relative to ACTH and saline groups, however, no differences in locomotor activity were observed in the open field test, nor were any group differences seen for sucrose consumption across groups. The antidepressant-like actions of NAc DBS and sham electrode placements were associated with an increase in levels of IL and vHIP phospho-GSK3β and phospho-mTOR, however, no differences in these protein levels were observed in the dHIP region. These data suggest that early response to electrode placement in the NAc, irrespective of whether active DBS or sham, has antidepressant-like effects in the ACTH-model of antidepressant resistance associated with distal upregulation of phospho-GSK3β and phospho-mTOR in the IL and vHIP regions of the mood network.

Original languageEnglish
Article number644921
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2021
Externally publishedYes


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