Vagal tone: effects on sensitivity, motility, and inflammation.

Author: Bonaz B1,2, Sinniger V1,2, Pellissier S2,3.
1University Clinic of Hepato-Gastroenterology, University Hospital, Grenoble, France. 2Stress and Neuro-Digestive Interactions, Inserm U1216, University Grenoble Alpes, Institute of Neurosciences, Grenoble, France. 3Department of Psychology, LIP/PC2S, Savoie University, Chambéry, France.
Conference/Journal: Neurogastroenterol Motil.
Date published: 2016 Apr
Other: Volume ID: 28 , Issue ID: 4 , Pages: 455-462 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1111/nmo.12817. , Word Count: 210

The vagus nerve (VN) is a key element of the autonomic nervous system. As a mixed nerve, the VN contributes to the bidirectional interactions between the brain and the gut, i.e., the brain-gut axis. In particular, after integration in the central autonomic network of peripheral sensations such as inflammation and pain via vagal and spinal afferents, an efferent response through modulation of preganglionic parasympathetic neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus and/or preganglionic sympathetic neurons of the spinal cord is able to modulate gastrointestinal nociception, motility, and inflammation. A low vagal tone, as assessed by heart rate variability, a marker of the sympatho-vagal balance, is observed in functional digestive disorders and inflammatory bowel diseases. To restore a normal vagal tone appears as a goal in such diseases. Among the therapeutic tools, such as drugs targeting the cholinergic system and/or complementary medicine (hypnosis, meditation…), deep breathing, physical exercise, VN stimulation (VNS), either invasive or non-invasive, appears as innovative. There is new evidence in the current issue of this Journal supporting the role of VNS in the modulation of gastrointestinal functions.

© 2016 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

KEYWORDS: inflammatory bowel disease; motility; pain; vagal tone; vagus nerve stimulation

PMID: 27010234 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher] Free full text