Electrical stimulation of the dorsolateral periaqueductal gray (d1PAG) and one of its target structures, the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), produces a typical behaviour in rats consisting of vigorous running and jumping which is known as "escape behaviour". Escape behaviour in rodents closely mimics panic attacks in humans. Since electrical stimulation at higher frequencies generally inhibits the stimulated region, we tested in this study the hypothesis that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the dIPAG and VMH at higher frequencies (>100 Hz) would not induce escape behaviour. More specifically, we evaluated whether experimental DBS could be used to inhibit panic-like behaviour. Rats underwent implantation of DBS-electrodes at the level of the dIPAG and VMH and the effects of various stimulation parameters were assessed. in addition, we studied the neural activation pattern resulting from DBS of the dIPAG and VMH using c-Fos immunohistochemistry. We found that stimulation amplitude is the most important stimulation parameter in the induction of escape behaviour. Remarkably, stimulation frequency (1-300 Hz) had no effect on stimulation-induced escape behaviour and therefore it was not possible to prevent the induction of escape behaviour with higher frequencies. The neuronal activation pattern resulting from dIPAG and VMH DBS was similar. These findings suggest that DBS of the dIPAG and VMH induces panic-related behaviours even at higher frequencies.
Lim, L. W., Blokland, A., Visser-Vandewalle, V. E. R. M., Vlamings, R., Sesia, T. J. J., Steinbusch, H. P. J., Schruers, K. R. J., Griez, E. J. L., & Temel, Y. (2008). High-frequency stimulation of the dorsolateral periaqueductal gray and ventromedial hypothalamus fails to inhibit panic-like behaviour. Behavioural Brain Research, 193(2), 197-203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2008.05.020