Deep Brain Stimulation

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Hiroki Toda, Clement Hamani, Adrian P. Fawcett, William D. Hutchison and Andres M. Lozano

Object

To examine the influence of deep brain stimulation on hippocampal neurogenesis in an adult rodent model.

Methods

Rats were anesthetized and treated for 1 hour with electrical stimulation of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (AN) or sham surgery. The animals were injected with 5′-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU) 1–7 days after surgery and killed 24 hours or 28 days later. The authors counted the BrdU-positive cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus. To investigate the fate of these cells, they also stained sections for doublecortin, NeuN, and GFAP and analyzed the results with confocal microscopy. In a second set of experiments they assessed the number of DG BrdU-positive cells in animals treated with corticosterone (a known suppressor of hippocampal neurogenesis) and sham surgery, corticosterone and AN stimulation, or vehicle and sham surgery.

Results

Animals receiving AN high-frequency stimulation (2.5 V, 90 μsec, 130 Hz) had a 2- to 3-fold increase in the number of DG BrdU-positive cells compared with nonstimulated controls. This increase was not seen with stimulation at 10 Hz. Most BrdU-positive cells assumed a neuronal cell fate. As expected, treatment with corticosterone significantly reduced the number of DG BrdU-positive cells. This steroid-induced reduction of neurogenesis was reversed by AN stimulation.

Conclusions

High-frequency stimulation of the AN increases the hippocampal neurogenesis and restores experimentally suppressed neurogenesis. Interventions that increase hippocampal neurogenesis have been associated with enhanced behavioral performance. In this context, it may be possible to use electrical stimulation to treat conditions associated with impairment of hippocampal function.

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Hiroki Toda, Clement Hamani and Andres Lozano

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has become a mainstay of treatment for patients with movement disorders. This modality is directed at modulating pathological activity within basal ganglia output structures by stimulating some of their nuclei, such as the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and the globus pallidus internus (GPi), without making permanent lesions. With the accumulation of experience, indications for the use of DBS have become clearer and the effectiveness and limitations of this form of therapy in different clinical conditions have been better appreciated. In this review the authors discuss the efficacy of DBS in the treatment of dystonia and levodopa-induced dyskinesias. The use of DBS of the STN and GPi is very effective for the treatment of movement disorders induced by levodopa. The relative benefits of using the GPi as opposed to the STN as a target are still being investigated. Bilateral GPi stimulation is gaining importance in the therapeutic armamentarium for the treatment of dystonia. The DYT1 forms of generalized dystonia and cervical dystonias respond to DBS better than secondary dystonia does. Discrimination between the diverse forms of dystonia and a better understanding of the pathophysiological features of this condition will serve as a platform for improved outcomes.