The Instant Spontaneous Neuronal Activity Modulation of Transcutaneous Auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation on Patients With Primary Insomnia.

Author: Zhao B1, Bi Y2,3, Li L1, Zhang J1, Hong Y4, Zhang L4, He J1, Fang J4, Rong P1
1Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.
2CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Beijing, China.
3Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
4Department of Radiology, Guang'anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.
Conference/Journal: Front Neurosci.
Date published: 2020 Mar 13
Other: Volume ID: 14 , Pages: 205 , Special Notes: doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00205. eCollection 2020. , Word Count: 242

Primary insomnia (PI) is associated with increased spontaneous neuronal activity. Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) modulates brain function, and it is an effective treatment for primary insomnia. However, whether taVNS alleviates insomnia through modulating spontaneous neuronal activity is not fully clarified. This study aims to investigate the instant effect of taVNS in modulating spontaneous neuronal activity in PI patients using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). Twenty-two PI subjects underwent rs-fMRI scanning prior and immediately after 30 min treatment of taVNS controlled by twenty healthy adults. Amplitude of low frequency fluctuations (ALFF) analysis was employed to assess the difference in spontaneous neuronal activity between PI patients and healthy adults, as well as between pre-treatment and post-treatment of taVNS. The taVNS-induced altered ALFF brain areas were then selected as regions of interest to perform the resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) analysis in PI patients. The right precuneus showed significantly increased ALFF in PI patients. After immediate taVNS treatment, the ALFF was significantly decreased in the right precuneus and increased in the left middle occipital gyrus. The RSFC in right precuneus with right angular, right superior frontal gyrus, and right middle frontal gyrus was significantly decreased. This study provides insights into the instant brain effects of taVNS on PI patients.

Copyright © 2020 Zhao, Bi, Li, Zhang, Hong, Zhang, He, Fang and Rong.

KEYWORDS: amplitude of low frequency fluctuations; functional connectivity; primary insomnia; spontaneous neuronal activity; transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation

PMID: 32231517 PMCID: PMC7082749 DOI: 10.3389/fnins.2020.00205