Impact of Anesthesia on Micromagnetic Stimulation (muMS) of the Vagus Nerve

Biomed Phys Eng Express. 2024 Apr 2. doi: 10.1088/2057-1976/ad3968. Online ahead of print.


To treat diseases associated with vagal nerve control of peripheral organs, it is necessary to selectively activate efferent and afferent fibers in the vagus. As a result of the nerve’s complex anatomy, fiber-specific activation proves challenging. Spatially selective neuromodulation using micromagnetic stimulation(µMS) is showing incredible promise. This neuromodulation technique uses microcoils(µcoils) to generate magnetic fields by powering them with a time-varying current. Following the principles of Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction, a highly directional electric field is induced in the nerve from the magnetic field. In this study on rodent cervical vagus, a solenoidal-shaped μcoil was oriented at an angle to left and right branches of the nerve. The aim of this study was to measure changes in the mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) following μMS of the vagus. The µcoils were powered by a single-cycle sinusoidal current varying in pulse widths(PW = 100, 500, and 1000 µsec) at a frequency of 20 Hz. Under the influence of isoflurane, µMS of the left vagus at 1000 µsec PW led to an average drop in MAP of 16.75 mmHg(n = 7). In contrast, µMS of the right vagus under isoflurane resulted in an average drop of 11.93 mmHg in the MAP(n = 7). Surprisingly, there were no changes in HR to either right or left vagal µMS suggesting the drop in MAP associated with vagus µMS was the result of stimulation of afferent, but not efferent fibers. In urethane anesthetized rats, no changes in either MAP or HR were observed upon μMS of the right or left vagus(n = 3). These findings suggest the choice of anesthesia plays a key role in determining the efficacy of μMS on the vagal nerve. Absence of HR modulation upon μMS could offer alternative treatment options using VNS with fewer heart-related side-effects.

PMID:38565093 | DOI:10.1088/2057-1976/ad3968