Q AzizCentre for Neuroscience and Trauma, Blizard Institute, Wingate Institute of Neurogastroenterology, Barts and the London School of Medicine & Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.
The vagus nerve is a central component of cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathways. We sought to evaluate the effect of bilateral transcutaneous cervical vagal nerve stimulation (t-VNS) on validated parameters of autonomic tone and cytokines in 20 healthy subjects. 24 hours after t-VNS, there was an increase in cardiac vagal tone and a reduction in tumor necrosis factor-α in comparison to baseline. No change was seen in blood pressure, cardiac sympathetic index or other cytokines. These preliminary data suggest that t-VNS exerts an autonomic and a subtle antitumor necrosis factor-α effect, which warrants further evaluation in larger controlled studies.