Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the preferred treatment for therapy-resistant movement disorders such as dystonia and Parkinson’s disease (PD), mostly in advanced disease stages. Although DBS is already in clinical use for ~30 years and has improved patients’ quality of life dramatically, there is still limited understanding of the underlying mechanisms of action. Rodent models of PD and dystonia are essential tools to elucidate the mode of action of DBS on behavioral and multiscale neurobiological levels. Advances have been made in identifying DBS effects on the central motor network, neuroprotection and neuroinflammation in DBS studies of PD rodent models. The phenotypic dtsz mutant hamster and the transgenic DYT-TOR1A (ΔETorA) rat proved as valuable models of dystonia for preclinical DBS research. In addition, continuous refinements of rodent DBS technologies are ongoing and have contributed to improvement of experimental quality. We here review the currently existing literature on experimental DBS in PD and dystonia models regarding the choice of models, experimental design, neurobiological readouts, as well as methodological implications. Moreover, we provide an overview of the technical stage of existing DBS devices for use in rodent studies.
Fig. 1. (A) Schematic illustration of identified DBS effects in PD rodent models with references according to the chapter “DBS in rodent models of PD”. (B) Schematic illustration of identified DBS effects in dystonia rodent models with references according to the chapter “DBS in rodent models of dystonia”.