Vagus nerve stimulation in bursts can efficiently modulate gastric contractions and contraction frequency at varying gastric pressures

Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2024 May 12:e14815. doi: 10.1111/nmo.14815. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: There has been recent clinical interest in the use of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) for treating gastrointestinal disorders as an alternative to drugs or gastric electrical stimulation. However, effectiveness of burst stimulation has not been demonstrated. We investigated the ability of bursting and continuous VNS to influence gastric and pyloric activity under a range of stimulation parameters and gastric pressures. The goals of this study were to determine which parameters could optimally excite or inhibit gastric activity.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data were collected from 21 Sprague-Dawley rats. Under urethane anesthesia, a rubber balloon was implanted into the stomach, connected to a pressure transducer and a saline infusion pump. A pressure catheter was inserted at the pyloric sphincter and a bipolar nerve cuff was implanted onto the left cervical vagus nerve. The balloon was filled to 15 cmH2O. Stimulation trials were conducted in a consistent order; the protocol was then repeated at 25 and 35 cmH2O. The nerve was then transected and stimulation repeated to investigate directionality of effects.

RESULTS: Bursting stimulation at the bradycardia threshold caused significant increases in gastric contraction amplitude with entrainment to the bursting frequency. Some continuous stimulation trials could also cause increased contractions but without frequency changes. Few significant changes were observed at the pylorus, except for frequency entrainment. These effects could not be uniquely attributed to afferent or efferent activity.

SIGNIFICANCE: Our findings further elucidate the effects of different VNS parameters on the stomach and pylorus and provide a basis for future studies of bursting stimulation for gastric neuromodulation.

PMID:38735698 | DOI:10.1111/nmo.14815