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Behav Brain Res. 2013 May 15;245:7-12. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2013.01.043. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Deep brain stimulation in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex impairs spatial reversal learning.

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Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Meibergdreef 47, 1105 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is a successful novel treatment for treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder and is currently under investigation for addiction and eating disorders. Clinical and preclinical studies have shown functional changes in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) following DBS in the ventral capsule/ventral striatum. These findings suggest that DBS can affect neural activity in distant regions that are connected to the site of electrode implantation. However, the behavioral consequences of direct OFC stimulation are not known. Here, we studied the effects of direct stimulation in the lateral OFC on spatial discrimination and reversal learning in rats. Rats were implanted with stimulating electrodes and were trained on a spatial discrimination and reversal learning task. DBS in the OFC did not affect acquisition of a spatial discrimination. Stimulated animals made more incorrect responses during the first reversal. Acquisition of the second reversal was not affected. These results suggest that DBS may inhibit activity in the OFC, or may disrupt output of the OFC to other cortical or subcortical areas, resulting in perseverative behavior or an inability to adapt behavior to altered response-reward contingencies.

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