tVNS Suppresses Ventricular Arrhythmia by Modulating Autonomic Activity

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Tragus Nerve Stimulation Suppresses Post-Infarction Ventricular Arrhythmia by Modulating Autonomic Activity and Heterogeneities of Cardiac Receptor Distribution.

BACKGROUND Imbalanced cardiac autonomic control and cardiac receptors redistribution contribute to the arrhythmogenic substrate under the myocardial infarction (MI) condition. Stimulating the auricular branch of vagus nerve (AB-VNS) has been proven to reduce post-infarction ventricular arrhythmia (VAs), but its potential mechanisms were largely unknown. This study aimed to investigate whether long-term intermittent low-intensity AB-VNS could produce a protective effect on modulating autonomic activities and abnormal redistribution of autonomic nerve efferent receptors in a MI canine model. MATERIAL AND METHODS Twelve healthy beagle dogs underwent ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery to establish a MI model and were randomized into 2 groups: an AB-VNS group, (AB-VNS for 4 weeks) and a control group (sham stimulation for 4 weeks). Dynamic electrocardiogram recording, neural recording, catecholamine concentration, and histological studies were conducted subsequently. RESULTS Compared to the control group, the AB-VNS group had significantly suppressed post-infarction VAs, reduced low frequency (LF) power and increased high frequency (HF) power. In the AB-VNS group, with the progression of reduced cardiac sympathetic activities and augmented cardiac parasympathetic activities, the catecholamine concentration in heart tissue declined in the peripheral infarction area and right ventricle (RV); tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive neurons decreased in the inferior cardiac sympathetic nerve, and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-positive neurons increased in the cervical vagus nerve. Expression of TrkA and P75NGFR were reduced in the peripheral MI (peri-MI) and non-MI area with AB-VNS. The mRNA expression of adrenergic and nicotinic receptors (ß₁-AR, ß₃-AR, and CHRNA7) significantly declined in the peri-MI and non-MI area of the AB-VNS group. CONCLUSIONS Chronic intermittent low-intensity AB-VNS effectively suppressed post-infarction VAs by potentially rebalancing extracardiac intrathoracic autonomic activities, reducing excessive cardiac sympathetic denervation, and attenuating the heterogeneities of cardiac efferent nerve receptors distribution.

PMID: 32447339 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Med Sci Monit. 2020 May 24;26:e922277

Authors: Sun H, Nasi-Er BG, Wang X, Zhang L, Lu Y, Zhou X, Li Y, Dong L, Zhou Q, Tang B