Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation as a novel therapy connecting the central and peripheral systems: a review

Int J Surg. 2024 May 9. doi: 10.1097/JS9.0000000000001592. Online ahead of print.


Currently, clinical practice and scientific research mostly revolve around a single disease or system, but the single disease-oriented diagnostic and therapeutic paradigm needs to be revised. This review describes how transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS), a novel noninvasive neuromodulation approach, connects the central and peripheral systems of the body. Through stimulation of the widely distributed vagus nerve from the head to the abdominal cavity, this therapy can improve and treat central system disorders, peripheral system disorders, and central-peripheral comorbidities caused by autonomic dysfunction. In the past, research on taVNS has focused on the treatment of central system disorders by modulating this brain nerve. As the vagus nerve innervates the heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, gastrointestinal tract, spleen and other peripheral organs, taVNS could have an overall modulatory effect on the region of the body where the vagus nerve is widespread. Based on this physiological basis, we summarize the existing evidence of the taVNS ability to regulate cardiac function, adiposity, glucose levels, gastrointestinal function, and immune function, among others, to treat peripheral system diseases, and complex diseases with central and peripheral comorbidities. This review shows the successful examples and research progress of taVNS using peripheral neuromodulation mechanisms from more perspectives, demonstrating the expanded scope and value of taVNS to provide new ideas and approaches for holistic therapy from both central and peripheral perspectives.

PMID:38729100 | DOI:10.1097/JS9.0000000000001592