Intralaminar Thalamic Deep Brain Stimulation Enhance Memory and Cortical Plasticity

Keywords: deep brain stimulation, cognition, animal model, memory, thalamus

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     Intralaminar thalamic nucleus (ILN) has been shown in the cognitive modulation through indirect connection with hippocampus and prefrontal cortex both in human and rodents.
     We aim to find the influence of ILN deep brain stimulation (DBS) on memory acquisition and the underlying neuronal activation and synaptic plasticity change.
     We first used Water Maze Task (WMT) to evaluate the ILN DBS in rats’ performance on spatial reference memory. The expression of c-fos, an immediate early gene, is used to identify neural activation within individual layers in cerebral cortex. Synaptic plasticity was demonstrated through Golgi-Cox stains on cerebral cortex and hippocampus.
     Rats with ILN DBS showed significantly decreased escape latency in WMT comparing with normal and sham stimulation groups. In order to demonstrate the correlation of memory performance and neuronal adaptive change, we sacrificed rats in a shortened WMT. Comparing with control groups, immunohistochemistry study showed more c-fos positive cells over layer IV cortex and Golgi-Cox stain revealed higher dendritic spine densities in layer III pyramidal neurons.
     This is a rat study.
     Our results elucidate mechanism of ILN DBS on the cognitive function.
     The results imply the possibility of DBS application on patients with cognitive impairment associated diseases, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.


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