tDCS modulates autonomic nervous system

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Transcranial direct current stimulation modulates autonomic nervous system and reduces ambulatory blood pressure in hypertensives.

Purpose: Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) seems to positively modulate the autonomic nervous system in different clinical conditions and healthy subjects; however, its effects on hypertensive (HTN) patients are not completely known. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of a tDCS or SHAM session (20 min) on blood pressure (BP) and autonomic variables of HTN patients. Materials and Methods: Subjects (n = 13) were randomly submitted to SHAM and tDCS sessions (1 week of washout). Hemodynamic and autonomic variables were measured at baseline, during, and immediately after tDCS or SHAM stimulation (Finometer®, Beatscope). Ambulatory BP measurement (ABPM) was evaluated after the experimental period. Results: Hemodynamic variables were not changed by tDCS, except for the fall in peripheral vascular resistance (Δ = -1696.51 ± 204.65 dyn.s/cm5). After the tDCS, sympathetic modulation was decreased (-61.47%), and vagal modulation was increased (+38.09%). Such acute autonomic changes may have evoked positive results observed in 24 hs-systolic blood pressure (Δ = -8.4 ± 6.2; P = .0022) and 24hs-diastolic blood pressure (Δ = -5.4 ± 4.2; P = .0010) in tDCS subjects compared with that in SHAM. Conclusion: These findings suggest that the tDCS could promote positive acute adjustments on cardiac autonomic control and reduced values on 24-hs BP of HTN patients. More than a proof-of-concept, these results may point out to the future, where brain stimulation (tDCS) can be used to HTN syndromes, such as refractory HTN.

PMID: 33423544 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Clin Exp Hypertens. 2021 Jan 11;:1-8

Authors: Rodrigues B, Barboza CA, Moura EG, Ministro G, Ferreira-Melo SE, Castaño JB, Ruberti OM, De Amorim RFB, Moreno H