Use of differential stimulation of the nucleus accumbens and anterior limb of the internal capsule to improve outcomes of obsessive-compulsive disorder

J Neurosurg 139:1376–1385, 2023

Personalized stimulation is key to optimizing the outcomes of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, the contacts in a single conventional electrode cannot be programmed independently, which may affect the therapeutic efficacy of DBS for OCD. Therefore, a novel designed electrode and implantable pulse generator (IPG) that could achieve differential stimulation parameters for different contacts was implanted into the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) of a cohort of patients with OCD.

METHODS Thirteen consecutive patients underwent bilateral DBS of the NAc-ALIC between January 2016 and May 2021. Differential stimulation of the NAc-ALIC was applied at initial activation. Primary effectiveness was assessed on the basis of change in scores on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS) from baseline to 6-month follow-up. Full-response was defined as a 35% decrease in Y-BOCS score. Secondary effectiveness measures were the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAMA) and Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD). The local field potential of bilateral NAcALIC was recorded in 4 patients who were reimplanted with a sensing IPG after battery depletion of the previous IPG.

RESULTS The Y-BOCS, HAMA, and HAMD scores decreased remarkably during the first 6 months of DBS. Ten of 13 patients were categorized as responders (76.9%). Differential stimulation of the NAc-ALIC was favorable to optimization of the stimulation parameters by increasing the parameter configurations. Power spectral density analysis revealed pronounced delta-alpha frequency activity in the NAc-ALIC. Phase-amplitude coupling of the NAc-ALIC showed that strong coupling is present between the phase of delta-theta and broadband gamma amplitude.

CONCLUSIONS These preliminary findings indicate that differential stimulation of the NAc-ALIC can improve the efficacy of DBS for OCD.