Vagus nerve stimulation ameliorated deficits in one-way active avoidance learning and stimulated hippocampal neurogenesis in bulbectomized rats.
SourceO.-v.-Guericke University, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Leipziger Str. 44, D-39120 Magdeburg, Germany.
BACKGROUND:Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has been introduced as a therapeutic option for treatment-resistant depression. The neural and chemical mechanisms responsible for the effects of VNS are largely unclear.
METHODS:Bilateral removal of the olfactory bulbs (OBX) is a validated animal model in depression research. We studied the effects of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) on disturbed one-way active avoidance learning and neurogenesis in the hippocampal dentate gyrus of rats.
RESULTS:After a stimulation period of 3 weeks, OBX rats acquired the learning task as controls. In addition, the OBX-related decrease of neuronal differentiated BrdU positive cells in the dentate gyrus was prevented by VNS.
CONCLUSIONS:This suggests that chronic VNS and changes in hippocampal neurogenesis induced by VNS may also account for the amelioration of behavioral deficits in OBX rats. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the restorative effects of VNS on behavioral function in an animal model of depression that can be compared with the effects of antidepressants.
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