Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation influences gastric motility: A randomized, double-blind trial in healthy individuals

  • Background: Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) has been investigated regarding its therapeutic properties in several several conditions such as epilepsy, migraine and major depressive disorder and was shown to access similar neural pathways as invasive vagus nerve stimulation. While the vagus nerve's role in gut motility is physiologically established, the effect of taVNS has scarcely been investigated in humans and yielded conflicting results. Real-time gastric magnetic resonance imaging (rtMRI) is an established reproducible method to investigate gastric motility non-invasively. Objective: To investigate the influence of taVNS on gastric motility of healthy participants using rtMRI. Methods: We conducted a randomized, double-blind study using high-frequency (HF) stimulation at 25Hz or low-frequency (LF) taVNS at 1Hz after ingestions of a standardized meal in 57 healthy participants. The gastric motility index (GMI) was determined by measuring the amplitude and velocity of the peristaltic waves using rtMRI. Results: After HF taVNS, GMI was significantly higher than after LF stimulation (p = 0.005), which was mainly attributable to a higher amplitude of the peristaltic waves (p = 0.003). Conclusion: We provide evidence that 4-h of taVNS influences gastric motility in healthy human participants for the first time using rtMRI. HF stimulation is associated with higher amplitudes of peristaltic waves in the gastric antrum compared to LF stimulation. Further studies are needed to investigate the effect of different frequencies of taVNS and its therapeutic properties in conditions with impaired gastric motility.

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Author:Kenan Steidel, Kristina Krause, Katja Menzler, Adam StrzelczykORCiDGND, Ilka ImmischGND, Sven Fuest, Iris Gorny, Peter Mross, Lukas Hakel, Laura Schmidt, Lars Timmermann, Felix RosenowORCiDGND, Sebastian BauerORCiD, Susanne KnakeORCiDGND
Parent Title (English):Brain stimulation
Place of publication:New York, NY [u.a.]
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/06/27
Date of first Publication:2021/06/27
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/05/04
Tag:Gastric motility; Gut; Real-time MRI; Vagus nerve; Vagus nerve stimulation; tVNS
Page Number:7
First Page:1126
Last Page:1132
The authors would like to acknowledge funding for the EpimiRNA-Project from the European Union's ‘Seventh Framework’ Programme (FP7) under Grant Agreement no. 602130.
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Nicht kommerziell - Keine Bearbeitung 4.0