Deep brain stimulation of nucleus accumbens region in alcoholism affects reward processing

PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36572. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036572. Epub 2012 May 22.


The influence of bilateral deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the nucleus nucleus (NAcc) on the processing of reward in a gambling paradigm was investigated using H(2)[(15)O]-PET (positron emission tomography) in a 38-year-old man treated for severe alcohol addiction. Behavioral data analysis revealed a less risky, more careful choice behavior under active DBS compared to DBS switched off. PET showed win- and loss-related activations in the paracingulate cortex, temporal poles, precuneus and hippocampus under active DBS, brain areas that have been implicated in action monitoring and behavioral control. Except for the temporal pole these activations were not seen when DBS was deactivated. These findings suggest that DBS of the NAcc may act partially by improving behavioral control.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / diagnostic imaging
  • Alcoholism / physiopathology
  • Alcoholism / therapy*
  • Deep Brain Stimulation*
  • Gambling
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Nucleus Accumbens / diagnostic imaging
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiopathology*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Reward*
  • Risk-Taking