Vagus nerve stimulation reduces spreading depolarization burden

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Vagus nerve stimulation reduces spreading depolarization burden and cortical infarct volume in a rat model of stroke.

Cortical spreading depolarization (SD) waves negatively affect neuronal survival and outcome after ischemic stroke. We here aimed to investigate the effects of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) on SDs in a rat model of focal ischemia. To this end, we delivered non-invasive VNS (nVNS) or invasive VNS (iVNS) during permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), and found that both interventions significantly reduced the frequency of SDs in the cortical peri-infarct area compared to sham VNS, without affecting relative blood flow changes, blood pressure, heart rate or breathing rate. In separate groups of rats subjected to transient MCAO, we found that cortical stroke volume was reduced 72 h after transient MCAO, whereas stroke volume in the basal ganglia remained unchanged. In rats treated with nVNS, motor outcome was improved 2 days after transient MCAO, but was similar to sham VNS animals 3 days after ischemia. We postulate that VNS may be a safe and efficient intervention to reduce the clinical burden of SD waves in stroke and other conditions.

PMID: 32702055 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

PLoS One. 2020;15(7):e0236444

Authors: Lindemann J, Rakers C, Matuskova H, Simon BJ, Kinfe T, Petzold GC