B fibers are the best predictors of cardiac activity during Vagus nerve stimulation: Qing, vagal B fiber activation and cardiac effects.
ABSTRACT: Background:Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a promising therapy for many neurologic and psychiatric conditions. However, determining stimulus parameters for individual patients is a major challenge. The traditional method of titrating stimulus intensity based on patient perception produces highly variable responses. This study explores using the vagal response to measure stimulation dose and predict physiological effect. Clinicians are investigating the use of VNS for heart failure management, and this work aims to correlate cardiac measures with vagal fiber activity. Results:By recording vagal activity during VNS in rats and using regression analysis, we found that cardiac activity across all animals was best correlated to the activation of a specific vagal fiber group. With conduction velocities ranging from 5 to 10 m/s, these fibers are classified as B fibers (using the Erlanger-Gasser system) and correspond to vagal parasympathetic efferents. Conclusions:B fiber activation can serve as a standardized, objective measure of stimulus dose across all subjects. Tracking fiber activation provides a more systematic way to study the effects of VNS and in the future, may lead to a more consistent method of therapy delivery.
Project description:Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a bioelectronic therapy for disorders of the brain and peripheral organs, and a tool to study the physiology of autonomic circuits. Selective activation of afferent or efferent vagal fibers can maximize efficacy and minimize off-target effects of VNS. Anodal block (ABL) has been used to achieve directional fiber activation in nerve stimulation. However, evidence for directional VNS with ABL has been scarce and inconsistent, and it is unknown whether ABL permits directional fiber activation with respect to functional effects of VNS. Through a series of vagotomies, we established physiological markers for afferent and efferent fiber activation by VNS: stimulus-elicited change in breathing rate (?BR) and heart rate (?HR), respectively. Bipolar VNS trains of both polarities elicited mixed ?HR and ?BR responses. Cathode cephalad polarity caused an afferent pattern of responses (relatively stronger ?BR) whereas cathode caudad caused an efferent pattern (stronger ?HR). Additionally, left VNS elicited a greater afferent and right VNS a greater efferent response. By analyzing stimulus-evoked compound nerve potentials, we confirmed that such polarity differences in functional responses to VNS can be explained by ABL of A- and B-fiber activation. We conclude that ABL is a mechanism that can be leveraged for directional VNS.
Project description:The vagus nerve (VN) is the longest nerve of the organism and a major component of the parasympathetic nervous system which constitutes the autonomic nervous system (ANS), with the sympathetic nervous system. There is classically an equilibrium between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems which is responsible for the maintenance of homeostasis. An imbalance of the ANS is observed in various pathologic conditions. The VN, a mixed nerve with 4/5 afferent and 1/5 efferent fibers, is a key component of the neuro-immune and brain-gut axes through a bidirectional communication between the brain and the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. A dual anti-inflammatory role of the VN is observed using either vagal afferents, targeting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, or vagal efferents, targeting the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. The sympathetic nervous system and the VN act in synergy, through the splenic nerve, to inhibit the release of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF?) by macrophages of the peripheral tissues and the spleen. Because of its anti-inflammatory effect, the VN is a therapeutic target in the treatment of chronic inflammatory disorders where TNF? is a key component. In this review, we will focus on the anti-inflammatory role of the VN in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The anti-inflammatory properties of the VN could be targeted pharmacologically, with enteral nutrition, by VN stimulation (VNS), with complementary medicines or by physical exercise. VNS is one of the alternative treatments for drug resistant epilepsy and depression and one might think that VNS could be used as a non-drug therapy to treat inflammatory disorders of the GI tract, such as IBD, irritable bowel syndrome, and postoperative ileus, which are all characterized by a blunted autonomic balance with a decreased vagal tone.
Project description:Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a rare disease of unknown etiology that progresses to right ventricular failure. It has a complex pathophysiology, which involves an imbalance between vasoconstrictive and vasodilative processes in the pulmonary circulation, pulmonary vasoconstriction, vascular and right ventricular remodeling, systemic inflammation, and autonomic imbalance, with a reduced parasympathetic and increased sympathetic tone. Current pharmacological treatments for PAH include several classes of drugs that target signaling pathways in vascular biology and cardiovascular physiology, but they can have severe unwanted effects and they do not typically stop the progression of the disease. Pulmonary artery denervation has been tested clinically as a method to suppress sympathetic overactivation, however it is a nonspecific and irreversible intervention. Bioelectronic medicine, in particular vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), has been used in cardiovascular disorders like arrhythmias, heart failure and arterial hypertension and could, in principle, be tested as a treatment in PAH. VNS can produce pulmonary vasodilation and renormalize right ventricular function, via activation of pulmonary and cardiac vagal fibers. It can suppress systemic inflammation, via activation of fibers that innervate the spleen. Finally, VNS can gradually restore the balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic tone by regulating autonomic reflexes. Preclinical studies support the feasibility of using VNS in PAH. However, there are challenges with such an approach, arising from the need to affect a relatively small number of relevant vagal fibers, and the potential for unwanted cardiac and noncardiac effects of VNS in this sensitive patient population.
Project description:The nervous and immune systems interact in complex ways to maintain homeostasis and respond to stress or injury, and rapid nerve conduction can provide instantaneous input for modulating inflammation. The inflammatory reflex referred to as the cholinergic antiinflammatory pathway regulates innate and adaptive immunity, and modulation of this reflex by vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is effective in various inflammatory disease models, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Effectiveness of VNS in these models necessitates the integration of neural signals and ?7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (?7nAChRs) on splenic macrophages. Here, we sought to determine whether electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve attenuates kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), which promotes the release of proinflammatory molecules. Stimulation of vagal afferents or efferents in mice 24 hours before IRI markedly attenuated acute kidney injury (AKI) and decreased plasma TNF. Furthermore, this protection was abolished in animals in which splenectomy was performed 7 days before VNS and IRI. In mice lacking ?7nAChR, prior VNS did not prevent IRI. Conversely, adoptive transfer of VNS-conditioned ?7nAChR splenocytes conferred protection to recipient mice subjected to IRI. Together, these results demonstrate that VNS-mediated attenuation of AKI and systemic inflammation depends on ?7nAChR-positive splenocytes.
Project description:Vagal afferents regulate energy balance by providing a link between the brain and postprandial signals originating from the gut. In the current study, we investigated melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) expression in the nodose ganglion, where the cell bodies of vagal sensory afferents reside. By using a line of mice expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the MC4R promoter, we found GFP expression in approximately one-third of nodose ganglion neurons. By using immunohistochemistry combined with in situ hybridization, we also demonstrated that approximately 20% of GFP-positive neurons coexpressed cholecystokinin receptor A. In addition, we found that the GFP is transported to peripheral tissues by both vagal sensory afferents and motor efferents, which allowed us to assess the sites innervated by MC4R-GFP neurons. GFP-positive efferents that co-expressed choline acetyltransferase specifically terminated in the hepatic artery and the myenteric plexus of the stomach and duodenum. In contrast, GFP-positive afferents that did not express cholinergic or sympathetic markers terminated in the submucosal plexus and mucosa of the duodenum. Retrograde tracing experiments confirmed the innervation of the duodenum by GFP-positive neurons located in the nodose ganglion. Our findings support the hypothesis that MC4R signaling in vagal afferents may modulate the activity of fibers sensitive to satiety signals such as cholecystokinin, and that MC4R signaling in vagal efferents may contribute to the control of the liver and gastrointestinal tract.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Numerous studies of vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) have been published showing it to be a potential treatment for chronic inflammation and other related diseases and disorders. Studies in recent years have shown that electrical stimulation of the vagal efferent fibers can artificially modulate cytokine levels and reduce systematic inflammation. Most VNS research in the treatment of inflammation have been acute studies on rodent subjects. Our study tested VNS on freely moving animals by stimulating and recording from the cervical vagus with nerve cuff electrodes over an extended period of time. APPROACH:We used methods of electrical stimulation, retrograde tracing (using Fluorogold) and post necropsy histological analysis of nerve tissue, flow cytometry to measure plasma cytokine levels, and MRI scanning of gastric emptying. This novel combination of methods allowed examination of physiological aspects of VNS previously unexplored. MAIN RESULTS:Through our study of 53 rat subjects, we found that chronically cuffing the left cervical vagus nerve suppressed efferent Fluorogold transport in 43 of 44 animals (36 showed complete suppression). Measured cytokine levels and gastric emptying rates concurrently showed nominal differences between chronically cuffed rats and those tested with similar acute methods. Meanwhile, results of electrophysiological and histological tests of the cuffed nerves revealed them to be otherwise healthy, consistent with previous literature. SIGNIFICANCE:We hypothesize that due to these unforeseen and unexplored physiological consequences of the chronically cuffed vagus nerve in a rat, that inflammatory modulation and other vagal effects by VNS may become unreliable in chronic studies. Given our findings, we submit that it would benefit the VNS community to re-examine methods used in previous literature to verify the efficacy of the rat model for chronic VNS studies.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Neuraxial modulation with cardiac sympathetic denervation (CSD) can potentially reduce burden of ventricular tachyarrhythmia (VT). However, despite catheter ablation and CSD, VT can recur in patients with cardiomyopathy and the role of vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) in this setting is unclear. OBJECTIVE:The purpose of this study was to evaluate the electrophysiological effects of VNS after CSD in normal and infarcted hearts. METHODS:In 10 normal and 6 infarcted pigs, electrophysiological and hemodynamic parameters were evaluated before and during intermittent VNS pre-CSD (bilateral stellectomy and T2-T4 thoracic ganglia removal) as well as post-CSD. The effect of VNS during isoproterenol was also assessed pre- and post-CSD. Multielectrode ventricular activation recovery interval (ARI) recordings, a surrogate of action potential duration, were obtained. VT inducibility was tested during isoproterenol infusion after CSD with and without VNS. RESULTS:VNS increased the global ARI by 4% ± 4% pre-CSD and by 5% ± 6% post-CSD, with enhanced effects observed during isoproterenol infusion (10% ± 8% pre-CSD and 12% ± 9% post-CSD) in normal animals. In infarcted animals pre-CSD, VNS increased ARI by 6% ± 7% before and by 13% ± 8% during isoproterenol infusion. Post-CSD, VNS increased ARI by 6% ± 5% before and by 11% ± 7% during isoproterenol infusion. VT was inducible in all infarcted animals post-CSD during isoproterenol infusion; this inducibility was reduced by 67% with VNS (P = .01). In all animals, the hemodynamic effects of VNS remained after CSD. CONCLUSION:After CSD, the beneficial electrophysiological effects of VNS remain. Furthermore, VNS can reduce VT inducibility beyond CSD in the setting of circulating catecholamines, suggesting a role for additional parasympathetic modulation in the treatment of ventricular arrhythmias.
Project description:The right atrium is densely innervated and provides sensory input to important cardiocirculatory reflexes controlling cardiac output and blood pressure. Its angiotensin (Ang) II-expressing innervation may release Ang II as a neuropeptide cotransmitter to modulate reflexes but has not yet been characterized.Intraoperative surgical biopsies from human right atria (n = 7) were immunocytologically stained for Ang II, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), and synaptophysin (SYN). Tissue angiotensins were extracted and quantified by radioimmunoassay.Angiotensinergic fibers were frequent in epicardial nerves and around vessels with variable TH co-localization (none to >50%/bundle). Fibers were also widely distributed between cardiomyocytes and in the endocardium where they were typically nonvaricose, TH/SYN-negative and usually accompanied by varicose catecholaminergic fibers. In the endocardium, some showed large varicosities and were partially TH or SYN-positive. A few endocardial regions showed scattered nonvaricose Ang fibers ending directly between endothelial cells. Occasional clusters of thin varicose terminals co-localizing SYN or TH were located underneath, or protruded into, the endothelium. Endocardial density of Ang and TH-positive fibers was 30-300 vs. 200-450/mm2. Atrial Ang II, III, and I concentrations were 67, 16, and 5 fmol/g (median) while Ang IV and V were mostly undetectable.The human right atrium harbors an abundant angiotensinergic innervation and a novel potential source of atrial Ang II. Most peripheral fibers were noncatecholaminergic afferents or preterminal vagal efferents and a minority was presumably sympathetic. Neuronal Ang II release from these fibers may modulate cardiac and circulatory reflexes independently from plasma and tissue Ang II sources.
Project description:Our previous work suggested that sensitivity of hippocampal neurons is changed in process of epileptic activities, and closely parallel to the dynamic characteristic of epileptic activity of the neurons. This study investigated the sensitivity of epileptic brain to vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) in epileptic process.Epileptic model was evoked by penicillin. Left vagal nerves were stimulated to inhibit the seizures induced by penicillin. The electrocorticography (ECoG) and electromyography (EMG) were recorded to analyze inhibiting effect of VNS in epileptic process.It was found that VNS could inhibit the seizures caused by penicillin, and the inhibiting effect of VNS to seizures increased as the vagal nerve stimulating time prolonged. It was also found that the inhibiting effect of VNS to seizures decreased in epileptic process.The results suggested that the sensitivity of epileptic brain to VNS was different in epileptic process. The inhibiting effect of VNS to seizure decreased as the development of seizures.
Project description:The vagus nerve (VN), the longest nerve of the organism that innervates the gastrointestinal tract, is a mixed nerve composed of 80% of afferent and 20% of efferent fibers. The VN has anti-inflammatory properties, in particular an anti-TNF? effect through the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. The VN is a key component of the autonomic nervous system, i.e. the parasympathetic nervous system. An imbalance of the autonomic nervous system, as represented by a low vagal tone, is described in many diseases and has a pro-inflammatory role. Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) are chronic disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract where TNF? is a key cytokine. VN stimulation (VNS), classically used for the treatment of drug resistant epilepsy and depression, would be of interest in the treatment of IBD. We have recently reported in a 6 month follow-up pilot study that VNS improves active Crohn's disease. Preliminary data of another pilot study confirm this interest. Similarly, VNS has recently been reported to improve rheumatoid arthritis, another TNF? mediated disease. Bioelectronic Medicine, as represented by VNS, opens new therapeutic avenues in the treatment of such chronic inflammatory disorders. In the present manuscript, we will focus on the interest of VNS in IBD.