Existing antipsychotic drugs are most effective at treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia but their relative efficacy is low and they are associated with considerable side effects. In this study deep brain stimulation of the ventral hippocampus was performed in a rodent model of schizophrenia (MAM-E17) in an attempt to alleviate one set of neurophysiological alterations observed in this disorder. Bipolar stimulating electrodes were fabricated and implanted, bilaterally, into the ventral hippocampus of rats. High frequency stimulation was delivered bilaterally via a custom-made stimulation device and both spectral analysis (power and coherence) of resting state local field potentials and amplitude of auditory evoked potential components during a standard inhibitory gating paradigm were examined. MAM rats exhibited alterations in specific components of the auditory evoked potential in the infralimbic cortex, the core of the nucleus accumbens, mediodorsal thalamic nucleus, and ventral hippocampus in the left hemisphere only. DBS was effective in reversing these evoked deficits in the infralimbic cortex and the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus of MAM-treated rats to levels similar to those observed in control animals. In contrast stimulation did not alter evoked potentials in control rats. No deficits or stimulation-induced alterations were observed in the prelimbic and orbitofrontal cortices, the shell of the nucleus accumbens or ventral tegmental area. These data indicate a normalization of deficits in generating auditory evoked potentials induced by a developmental disruption by acute high frequency, electrical stimulation of the ventral hippocampus.
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