[Effect of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation on functional connectivity in the related brain regions of patients with depression based on the resting-state fMRI]

Author: Yue Ma1, Chun-Lei Guo1, Ji-Fei Sun1, Shan-Shan Gao1, Yi Luo1, Qing-Yan Chen1, Yang Hong1, Lei Zhang1, Jiu-Dong Cao1, Xue Xiao2, Pei-Jing Rong3, Ji-Liang Fang1
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> Guang&#x27;anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100053, China. <sup>2</sup> Beijing First Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine Hospital. <sup>3</sup> Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences.
Conference/Journal: Zhongguo Zhen Jiu
Date published: 2023 Apr 12
Other: Volume ID: 43 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 367-73 , Special Notes: doi: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.20221007-k0002. , Word Count: 389

To explore the brain effect mechanism and the correlation between brain functional imaging and cognitive function in treatment of depressive disorder (DD) with transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) based on the resting-state functional magenetic reasonance imaging (rs-fMRI).

Thirty-two DD patients were included in a depression group and 32 subjects of healthy condition were enrolled in a normal group. In the depression group, the taVNS was applied to bilateral Xin (CO15) and Shen (CO10), at disperse-dense wave, 4 Hz/20 Hz in frequency and current intensity ≤20 mA depending on patient's tolerance, 30 min each time, twice daily. The duration of treatment consisted of 8 weeks. The patients of two groups were undertaken rs-fMRI scanning. The scores of Hamilton depression scale (HAMD), Hamilton anxiety scale (HAMA) and Wisconsin card sorting test (WCST) were observed in the normal group at baseline and the depression group before and after treatment separately. The differential brain regions were observed before and after treatment in the two groups and the value of degree centrality (DC) of fMRI was obtained. Their correlation was analyzed in terms of HAMD, HAMA and WCST scores.

The scores of HAMD and HAMA in the depression group were all higher than those in the normal group (P<0.05). After treatment, the scores of HAMD and HAMA were lower than those before treatment in the depression group; the scores of total responses, response errors and perseverative errors of WCST were all lower than those before treatment (P<0.05). The brain regions with significant differences included the left inferior temporal gyrus, the left cerebellar peduncles region 1, the left insula, the right putamen, the bilateral supplementary motor area and the right middle frontal gyrus. After treatment, the value of DC in left supplementary motor area was negatively correlated to HAMD and HAMA scores respectively (r=-0.324, P=0.012; r=-0.310, P=0.015); the value of DC in left cerebellar peduncles region 1 was negatively correlated to the total responses of WCST (r=-0.322, P=0.013), and the left insula was positively correlated to the total responses of WCST (r=0.271, P=0.036).

The taVNS can modulate the intensity of the functional activities of some brain regions so as to relieve depressive symptoms and improve cognitive function.

Keywords: cognitive function; degree centrality; depressive disorder; functional connection strength; resting-state functional magenetic reasonance imaging; transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation.

PMID: 37068810 DOI: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.20221007-k0002