Vagus nerve stimulation does not affect spatial memory in fast rats, but has both anti-convulsive and pro-convulsive effects on amygdala-kindled seizures
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Neuroscience / International Brain Research Organization. - Oxford
, p. 1443-1451
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an adjunctive treatment for refractory epilepsy. Using a seizure-prone Fast-kindling rat strain with known comorbid behavioral features, we investigated the effects of VNS on spatial memory, epileptogenesis, kindled seizures and body weight. Electrodes were implanted in both amygdalae and around the left vagus nerve of 17 rats. Following recovery, rats were tested in the Morris water-maze utilizing a fixed platform paradigm. The VNS group received 2 h of stimulation prior to entering the Morris water-maze. Rats were then tested in the kindling paradigm wherein the VNS group received 2 h of stimulation prior to daily kindling stimulation. Finally, the abortive effects of acute VNS against kindling-induced seizures were determined in fully kindled rats by applying VNS immediately after the kindling pulse. Body weight, water consumption and food intake were measured throughout. Memory performance in the Morris water-maze was not different between control and vagus nerve stimulation rats. Similarly, kindling rate was unaffected by antecedent VNS. However, pro-convulsive effects (P < 0.05) were noted, when VNS was administered prior to the kindling pulse in fully kindled rats. Yet, paradoxically, VNS showed anticonvulsant effects (P < 0.01) in those rats when applied immediately after the kindling stimulus. Body weight was significantly lower throughout kindling (P < 0.01) in VNS-treated rats compared with controls, which was associated with reduced food intake (P < 0.05), but without difference in water consumption. VNS appears to be devoid of significant cognitive side effects in the Morris water-maze in Fast rats. Although VNS exhibited no prophylactic effect on epileptogenesis or seizure severity when applied prior to the kindling stimulus, it showed significant anti-convulsant effects in fully kindled rats when applied after seizure initiation. Lastly, VNS prevented the weight gain associated with kindling through reduced food intake. (c) 2006 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.