Amygdala Deep Brain Stimulation is Superior to Paroxetine in a Rat Model of PTSD

David Anthony Stidd, MD1, Scott Krahl, PhD1, Jean-Marc Fellous, PhD1, Jean-Philippe Langevin, MD1

1Tucson, AZ United States

Keywords: traumatic brain injury, deep brain stimulation, amygdala, animal model, post-traumatic stress disorder

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     Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very debilitating disease refractory to current treatment with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in up to 30 percent of patients, illustrating the need for new treatments of PTSD. Neuroimaging studies have shown increased activity of the amygdala of patients with PTSD.
     We demonstrate that amygdala deep brain stimulation (DBS) as novel treatment for PTSD is superior to current treatment with a commonly used SSRI, paroxetine, in a rat PTSD model.
     A PTSD model was created by subjecting rats to inescapable foot shocks in the presence of a conspicuous ball. Response to treatment was measured as a decreased burying behavior when presented with the same ball one and two weeks after the shocks. Rats where treated with either daily intraperitoneal paroxetine injections or amygdala DBS via an electrode implanted one week prior to shocks. Generalized anxiety was assessed using an elevated plus maze
     Animals treated with amygdala DBS showed less ball burying at two weeks relative to the animals treated with paroxetine. The animals treated with paroxetine, however, had a lower anxiety level compared to the DBS treated group.
     This is a rat study.
     While paroxetine did decrease the measured general anxiety level of the rats in this study, amygdala DBS was found to have a lower burying time in the PTSD model. This suggests that SSRIs only provide symptomatic relief of PTSD symptoms without addressing a cause.
     DBS is a promising novel treatment of PTSD refractory to current treatment.


Project Roles:

D. Stidd (), S. Krahl (), J. Fellous (), J. Langevin ()