W. Van Lysebettens
- Clinical Vagus Nerve Stimulation Paradigms Induce Pronounced Brain and Body Hypothermia in Rats
- International Journal of Neural Systems
- Volume | Issue number
- 27 | 5
- Article number
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a widely used neuromodulation technique that is currently used or being investigated as therapy for a wide array of human diseases such as epilepsy, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, tinnitus, inflammatory diseases, pain, heart failure and many others. Here, we report a pronounced decrease in brain and core temperature during VNS in freely moving rats. Two hours of rapid cycle VNS (7s on/18s off) decreased brain temperature by around 3°C, while standard cycle VNS (30 s on/300 s off) was associated with a decrease of around 1°C. Rectal temperature similarly decreased by more than 3°C during rapid cycle VNS. The hypothermic effect triggered by VNS was further associated with a vasodilation response in the tail, which reflects an active heat release mechanism. Despite previous evidence indicating an important role of the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic system in therapeutic effects of VNS, lesioning this system with the noradrenergic neurotoxin DSP-4 did not attenuate the hypothermic effect. Since body and brain temperature affect most physiological processes, this finding is of substantial importance for interpretation of several previously published VNS studies and for the future direction of research in the field.
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