Prelimbic Cortex Deep Brain Stimulation Reduces Binge Size in a Chronic Binge Eating Rat Model

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 2018;96(1):33-39. doi: 10.1159/000486965. Epub 2018 Mar 13.


Background: Binge eating (BE) involves the consumption of a large amount of food in a short period of time and a loss of control during the binge episode. It is a key feature of the major subtypes of eating disorders like bulimia nervosa, BE disorder, anorexia nervosa binge/purge type. Alterations in the mesocorticolimbic pathway play a crucial role in its pathophysiology.

Objectives: We hypothesized that BE rats receiving deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the prelimbic cortex, a functional analog of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in humans, would have a reduced binge size compared with those receiving sham stimulation.

Methods: Eight male Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with a DBS electrode in the left prelimbic cortex. A protocol which included limited access to a "sweet-fat" diet was used to achieve a chronic BE state in the rats. After reaching a stable binge size, each rat had undergone sham, low-frequency stimulation (60 Hz), and high-frequency (130 Hz) stimulation for 3 sessions each, and 2 consecutive treatments were separated by at least 2 empty sessions to allow a washout of the effects. A one-way ANOVA was used for the data analysis.

Results: Low-frequency (60 Hz) stimulation of the prelimbic cortex significantly reduced the binge size compared to the sham stimulation (p < 0.0001). High-frequency DBS (130 Hz) had no significant influence on this behavior when compared to sham stimulation (p = 0.9).

Conclusions: This study suggests that low-frequency prelimbic cortex stimulation in BE would be useful for correcting prefrontal hypofunction which is strongly associated with BE and addiction pathogenesis.

Keywords: Binge eating; Deep brain stimulation; Prefrontal cortex hypofunction; Prelimbic cortex; Rat model.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / physiopathology
  • Binge-Eating Disorder / therapy*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Male
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley