ISSN: 2329-6488

Journal of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence
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Research Article Open Access
Electrical Stimulation of the Nucleus Accumbens Shell Reduces Voluntary Ethanol Consumption in Bulbectomized Rats

Knape C, Wetzel W, Peters B, Ohl FW and Becker A

Abstract

Background: Alcoholism is often accompanied by depression. It has been shown that deep electrical stimulation of the nucleus accumbens is effective in the treatment of alcoholism. Objective: Despite the promising results of clinical trials, the mechanisms underlying its effects are still unclear. To elucidate these mechanisms, valid animal models are needed. Methods: We investigated the effects of electrical stimulation of the nucleus accumbens shell (NAS) and nucleus accumbens core (NAC) on alcohol intake in bulbectomized rats. Bilateral removal of the olfactory bulbs (OBX) is considered a valid animal model of depression. Results: It was shown that electrical stimulation of the NAS with the described stimulus parameters significantly reduced voluntary ethanol intake in OBX rats. After the cessation of stimulation, this effect became insignificant. In contrast, stimulation of the NAC did not modify voluntary ethanol intake. In sham-bulbectomized animals, voluntary ethanol intake was negligible and ethanol consumption did not alter as a result of electrical stimulation of the NAC or NAS Conclusions: Our study underlines the relevance of the OBX model in the study of depression comorbid alcohol intake. Moreover, it might be useful in the study of the mechanisms underlying the clinical effectiveness of electrical stimulation of the NAS in the treatment of alcoholism.

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