Nucleus Accumbens Deep Brain Stimulation Suppresses Binge Eating in Mice: a Mechanistic Approach

Keywords: behavior, deep brain stimulation, eating disorder, animal model, mechanism

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     The nucleus accumbens (NAc) shell has been implicated in eating disorders associated with obesity.
     Here, we test the hypothesis that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the NAc-shell would attenuate binge eating in mice. We measured c-Fos protein levels to assay neuronal activation in response to DBS.
     Mice (C57Bl/6) were implanted unilaterally in the NAc-shell (confirmed post-mortem) with a bipolar electrode. Implanted mice (n=12) and non-surgical controls (n=7) were provided 1h, daily exposure to a high fat diet for 7 days. We defined binge eating as consumption of 25% of daily caloric intake. Immediately prior to and during exposure to this diet on days 8 and 10, DBS was administered (DBS-on; 160 Hz, 60 ms, 150 mA). Binge eating was re-examined on days 9 and 11 with DBS-off. We then measured c-Fos protein in the NAc-shell immediately following DBS and binge eating in controls.
     Stable levels of binge eating were seen. DBS was then administered, which significantly suppressed binge eating compared to controls (p<0.05) and within-group on DBS-off days (p<0.01). C-Fos increased specifically in the NAc-shell in response to DBS both ipsilateral and contralateral to the electrode. There was a modest increase in c-Fos in the NAc-shell bilaterally following binge eating in controls.
     This is a mouse study.
     NAc-shell DBS significantly attenuated binge eating and may be related to increased neuronal activation in the shell in response to DBS. C-Fos levels increased bilaterally following unilateral DBS.
     This is the first report to our knowledge to identify bilateral accumulation of c-Fos in response to unilateral DBS.


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