Is there a role for vagus nerve stimulation therapy as a treatment of traumatic brain injury?
SourceDepartment of Neurosurgery, Wessex Neurological Centre , Southampton.
AbstractThis paper aims to review the current literature on vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) use in animal models of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and explore its potential role in treatment of human TBI. A MEDLINE search yielded four primary papers from the same group that demonstrated VNS mediated improvement following fluid percussion models of TBI in rats, seen as motor and cognitive improvements, reduction of cortical oedema and neuroprotective effects. The underlying mechanisms are elusive and authors attribute these to attenuation of post traumatic seizures, a noradrenergic mechanism and as yet undetermined mechanisms. Reviewing and elaborating on these ideas, we speculate other potential mechanisms including attenuation of peri-infarct depolarisations, attenuation of glutamate mediated excitotoxicity, stabilisation of intracranial pressure, enhancement of synaptic plasticity, upregulation of endogenous neurogenesis and anti-inflammatory effects may have a role. Although this data unequivocally shows that VNS improves outcome from TBI in animal models, it remains to be determined if these findings translate clinically. Further studies are warranted.
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