Programmed deep brain stimulation synchronizes VTA gamma band field potential and alleviates depressive-like behavior in rats

Neuropharmacology. 2015 Apr;91:135-41. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2014.12.003. Epub 2014 Dec 11.


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) significantly alleviates symptoms in various neurological disorders. Current research focuses on developing programmed stimulation protocols for customization to individual symptoms. However, the therapeutic mechanism of action of programmed DBS (pDBS) is poorly understood. We previously demonstrated that pDBS in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) normalizes molecular and behavioral abnormalities in the Flinders Sensitive Line (FSL) rat model for depression. Herein, we examined the effect of a short-duration, low-frequency DBS template on local field potential (LFP) synchronization patterns along the anterior-posterior axis of the VTA of FSL rats, and correlation of this effect with depressive-like behavior, as compared with non-programmed, continuous low-frequency DBS (npDBS). We used the wavelet phase coherence (WPC) measure for effective representation of time and frequency of LFP patterns, and the forced swim test to measure immobility (despair). Baseline WPC values were lower in FSLs as compared with SD controls, at the low and high gamma frequency range (above 30 Hz). Baseline immobility scores for FSL rats were higher than those of SD rats, while pDBS, and not npDBS, significantly reduced FSL immobility scores to control SD levels, up to day 14. pDBS also significantly increased the change (between baseline and day 14) in WPC values, in beta, low gamma and high gamma frequency ranges. The change in high gamma (60-100 Hz) WPC values correlated with improvement in depressive-like behavior. Our results suggest that programmed DBS of the VTA increases interaction among local neuronal populations, an effect that may underlie the normalization of depressive-like behavior.

Keywords: Deep brain stimulation; Depression; Gamma band synchronization; Local field potentials; Ventral tegmental area.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Depression / physiopathology*
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gamma Rhythm*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Ventral Tegmental Area / physiopathology*