Exploring Electrical Neuromodulation as an Alternative Therapeutic Approach in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases

Medicina (Kaunas). 2024 Apr 27;60(5):729. doi: 10.3390/medicina60050729.


Background and Objectives: This review systematically evaluates the potential of electrical neuromodulation techniques-vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), sacral nerve stimulation (SNS), and tibial nerve stimulation (TNS)-as alternative treatments for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s Disease (CD). It aims to synthesize current evidence on the efficacy and safety of these modalities, addressing the significant burden of IBD on patient quality of life and the limitations of existing pharmacological therapies. Materials and Methods: We conducted a comprehensive analysis of studies from PubMed, focusing on research published between 1978 and 2024. The review included animal models and clinical trials investigating the mechanisms, effectiveness, and safety of VNS, SNS, and TNS in IBD management. Special attention was given to the modulation of inflammatory responses and its impact on gastrointestinal motility and functional gastrointestinal disorders associated with IBD. Results: Preliminary findings suggest that VNS, SNS, and TNS can significantly reduce inflammatory markers and improve symptoms in IBD patients. These techniques also show potential in treating related gastrointestinal disorders during IBD remission phases. However, the specific mechanisms underlying these benefits remain to be fully elucidated, and there is considerable variability in treatment parameters. Conclusions: Electrical neuromodulation holds promise as a novel therapeutic avenue for IBD, offering an alternative to patients who do not respond to traditional treatments or experience adverse effects. The review highlights the need for further rigorous studies to optimize stimulation parameters, understand long-term outcomes, and integrate neuromodulation effectively into IBD treatment protocols.

PMID:38792911 | DOI:10.3390/medicina60050729