Minimally invasive vagus nerve stimulation modulates mast cell degranulation via the microbiota-gut-brain axis to ameliorate blood-brain barrier and intestinal barrier damage following ischemic stroke

Int Immunopharmacol. 2024 Apr 10;132:112030. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2024.112030. Online ahead of print.


Mast cells (MCs) play a significant role in various diseases, and their activation and degranulation can trigger inflammatory responses and barrier damage. Several studies have indicated that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) exerts ameliorates neurological injury, and regulates gut MC degranulation. However, there is limited research on the modulatory effect of VNS on MCs in both the gut and brain in brain ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury in this process. We aim to develop a minimally invasive, targeted and convenient VNS approach to assess the impact of VNS and to clarify the relationship between VNS and MCs on the prognosis of acute ischemic stroke. We utilized middle cerebral artery occlusion/reperfusion (MCAO/r) to induce brain I/R injury. After the experiment, the motor function and neurofunctional impairments of the rats were detected, and the gastrointestinal function, blood-brain barrier (BBB) and intestinal barrier damage, and systemic and local inflammation were evaluated by Nissl, TTC staining, Evans blue, immunofluorescence staining, transmission electron microscopy, western blot assays, ELISA, and fecal 16S rRNA sequencing methods. Our research confirmed that our minimally invasive VNS method is a novel approach for stimulating the vagus nerve. VNS alleviated motor deficits and gastrointestinal dysfunction while also suppressing intestinal and neuroinflammation. Additionally, VNS ameliorated gut microbiota dysbiosis in rats. Furthermore, our analysis indicated that VNS reduces chymase secretion by modulating MCs degranulation and improves intestinal and BBB damage. Our results showed that VNS treatment can alleviate the damage of BBB and colonic barrier after cerebral I/R by modulating mast cell degranulation, and alleviates systemic inflammatory responses.

PMID:38603861 | DOI:10.1016/j.intimp.2024.112030