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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

High-frequency electrical stimulation in the nucleus accumbens of morphine-treated rats suppresses neuronal firing in reward-related brain regions

Wen-han Hu, Yong-feng Bi, Kai Zhang, Fan-gang Meng, Jian-guo Zhang

Med Sci Monit 2011; 17(6): BR153-160

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.881802

Available online: 2011-06-01

Published: 2011-06-01


Background:    Previous studies have reported that high-frequency stimulation (HFS) in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) is a potential treatment modality for drug craving and relapse. We aimed to explore the electrophysiological changes in reward-related brain regions during NAc stimulation and reveal the effects of stimulation frequency and target changes on NAc neuronal activities.
    Material/Methods:    Twenty-eight rats were randomized into saline (n=8) and morphine (n=20) groups. The morphine group was further divided into core (n=10, only the core of the NAc was stimulated) and shell (n=10, only the shell of the NAc was stimulated) subgroups. Conditioned place preference (CPP) behavior of the rats was evaluated to confirm morphine preference after morphine injection and CPP training for 10 days. We recorded NAc neuronal responses to NAc core stimulation at different frequencies, as well as changes in VP and VTA neuronal firing during NAc core stimulation, and changes in NAc neuronal firing during NAc shell stimulation.
    Results:    The results indicate that high frequency stimulation was more effective in suppressing NAc neuronal activities than low frequency stimulation and that core stimulation was more effective than shell stimulation. Most VP neurons were inhibited by NAc core stimulation, while VTA neurons were not.
    Conclusions:    The results suggest that electrical stimulation in the NAc can suppress neuronal firing in reward-related brain regions. The stimulation might be frequency- dependent in suppressing neuronal firing. The core and shell of the NAc play different roles in suppressing NAc neuronal firing as 2 stimulating targets.

Keywords: Neurons - physiology, Nucleus Accumbens - physiology, Morphine - pharmacology, Electrodes, Electric Stimulation, Conditioning (Psychology), Artifacts, Animals, Action Potentials - drug effects, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Reward, Ventral Tegmental Area - drug effects