Deep brain stimulation of the nucleus accumbens shell attenuates cue-induced reinstatement of both cocaine and sucrose seeking in rats

Behav Brain Res. 2015 Mar 15;281:125-30. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2014.12.025. Epub 2014 Dec 18.


Stimuli previously associated with drug taking can become triggers that can elicit craving and lead to relapse of drug-seeking behavior. Here, we examined the influence of deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the nucleus accumbens shell on cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine seeking, an animal model of relapse. Rats were allowed to self-administer cocaine (0.254 mg, i.v.) for 2 h daily for 21 days, with each infusion of cocaine being paired with a cue light. After 21 days of self-administration, cocaine-taking behavior was extinguished by replacing cocaine with saline in the absence of the cue light. Next, during the reinstatement phase, DBS was administered bilaterally into the nucleus accumbens shell through bipolar stainless steel electrodes immediately prior to re-exposure to cues previously associated with cocaine reinforcement. DBS continued throughout the 2 h reinstatement session. Parallel studies examined the influence of accumbens shell DBS on reinstatement induced by cues previously associated with sucrose reinforcement. Results indicated that DBS of the nucleus accumbens shell significantly attenuated cue-induced reinstatement of cocaine and sucrose seeking. Together, these results indicate that DBS of the accumbens shell disrupts cue-induced reinstatement associated with both a drug and a natural reinforcer.

Keywords: Addiction; Cue-induced reinstatement; Deep brain stimulation; Nucleus accumbens; Psychostimulant; Relapse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Addictive / etiology
  • Behavior, Addictive / therapy*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Cocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / complications
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Cocaine-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Cues
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Drug-Seeking Behavior*
  • Extinction, Psychological / drug effects
  • Male
  • Nucleus Accumbens / drug effects
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reinforcement Schedule
  • Self Administration / methods
  • Sucrose


  • Dopamine Uptake Inhibitors
  • Sucrose
  • Cocaine