Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The nucleus accumbens (NAc) is gaining interest as a target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in refractory neuropsychiatric disorders with impulsivity as core symptom. The nucleus accumbens is composed of two subterritories, core and shell, which have different anatomical connections. In animal models, it has been shown that DBS of the NAc changes impulsive action. Here, we tested the hypothesis that a change in impulsive action by DBS of the NAc is associated with changes in dopamine levels. Rats received stimulating electrodes either in the NAc core or shell, and underwent behavioral testing in a reaction time task. In addition, in a second experiment, the effect of DBS of the NAc core and shell on extracellular dopamine and serotonin levels was assessed in the NAc and medial prefrontal cortex. Control subjects received sham surgery. We have found that DBS of the NAc shell stimulation induced more impulsive action but less perseverative checking. These effects were associated with increased levels of dopamine and serotonin in the NAc, but not in the medial prefrontal cortex. DBS of the NAc core had no effect on impulsive action, but decreased perseverative responses indicative of a better impulse control. In these subjects, no effects were found on neurotransmitter levels. Our data point out that DBS of the NAc shell has negative effects on impulsive action which is accompanied by increases of dopamine and serotonin levels in the NAc, whereas DBS of the NAc core has beneficial behavioral effects.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Neurol

Publication Date





302 - 309


Analysis of Variance, Animals, Behavior, Animal, Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid, Deep Brain Stimulation, Dopamine, Impulsive Behavior, Male, Motor Activity, Nucleus Accumbens, Rats, Rats, Inbred Lew, Reaction Time, Serotonin