Original Article

International Journal of Obesity (2012) 36, 1537–1544; doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.271; published online 21 February 2012

Animal Models

Body fat and body weight reduction following hypothalamic deep brain stimulation in monkeys: an intraventricular approach

N Torres1,2, S Chabardes1,3, B Piallat1, A Devergnas1 and A L Benabid2

  1. 1Unite INSERM, U836-UJFG, GIN, France
  2. 2CEA/LETI/CLINATEC, MINATEC Campus, Grenoble, France
  3. 3Department of Neurosurgery, and Faculty of Medicine, Joseph Fourier University, Grenoble France

Correspondence: Dr N Torres, CEA/LETI/CLINATEC, MINATEC Campus, 17 Av des Martyrs, Grenoble Cedex 9, ISERE, 38054, France. E-mail: napotorres@gmail.com

Received 28 February 2011; Revised 18 October 2011; Accepted 5 November 2011
Advance online publication 21 February 2012





The authors proposed an intraventricular ‘floating’ electrode inserted in the third ventricle (V3) adjacent to the ventromedian hypothalamus (VMH) in a freely moving Macaca fascicularis to modulate food intake (FI), body fat (BF), body weight (BW) and body mass index (BMI), as a potential treatment of obesity.



Five adult Macaca fascicularis monkeys were implanted stereotactically in the V3 contiguous to the VMH with one deep brain stimulation (DBS) electrode. The study was divided in two phases: (a) acute 24h-fasting trials: different electrical stimulation parameters were applied to a fasting primate to determine the best combination in reducing FI; and (b) chronic 8-week stimulation trials: three cycles of intraventricular-VMH DBS lasting 8–10 weeks were performed at 130Hz, 80Hz (most effective frequency reducing FI) and 30Hz, respectively. BMI, BW, BF content, skinfolds and hormones were measured during baseline and at the end of each session of stimulation.



Acute 24h-fasting trials: there was a decrease in FI in all subjects at 80Hz, (11–19%, mean 15%). Chronic 8-week stimulation trials: a significant decrease in BW and BMI was observed in three out of four monkeys at 80Hz (mean 8±4.4%). Subcutaneous skinfolds were reduced in all four subjects at 80Hz and slightly increased at 130Hz. The sham monkey remained stable. No significant adverse effects were recorded.



The stimulation of the VMH region through an intraventricular approach might acutely modulate FI and induce a sustained decrease in BW and fat mass in normal non-human primate.


deep brain stimulation; ventromedian hypothalamus; Macaca fascicularis; third ventricle

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