Selective GABA release as a mechanistic basis of high-frequency stimulation used for the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases

Thomas J. Feuerstein, Miriam Kammerer, Carl Hermann Lücking, Andreas Moser

14 Citations (Scopus)


Electrical high-frequency stimulation (HFS) is applied in many brain areas to treat various clinical syndromes. The nearly identical constellation of stimulation parameters raises the question of a unique mechanism of action of this therapeutic option. The identification of a single HFS mechanism may help to optimize the HFS technology by targeting this single mechanism. Experimentally, only axonal membranes are targets of HFS, but not other membranes of neurons or glial cells. Within all HFS target regions, axons of excitatory glutamatergic and inhibitory GABAergic neurons are present and play roles in all clinical syndromes treated successfully with HFS. Therefore, glutamatergic or GABAergic fibres are likely candidates as mediators of a unique HFS mode of action. The selective involvement of another neuronal fibre type (e.g. monoaminergic, cholinergic, etc.) in the HFS mode of action is highly unlikely since the regional and syndromal dissimilarity of the clinical HFS applications precludes the assumption of such a fibre type as primary HFS site of action. Our recent experimental finding that HFS of human neocortical slices induces the action potential-mediated release of GABA, but not of glutamate, simplifies the possibilities to explain the HFS mode of action, as the explanation now may concentrate on GABAergic axons only. Thus, we are analysing, on the basis of the pathophysiological grounds of the various syndromes treated with deep brain stimulation, whether a selective GABA release is a collective explanation of the mode of action of HFS. We suggest that selective GABA release indeed may needfully and sufficiently explain efficacy and side effects of HFS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNaunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 01.07.2011


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