Author: Yuan H1, Silberstein SD1
1Jefferson Headache Center, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Date published: 2016 Jan
Other: Volume ID: 56 , Issue ID: 1 , Pages: 71-8 , Special Notes: doi: 10.1111/head.12647. Epub 2015 Sep 14. , Word Count: 160
The vagus nerve (VN), the "great wondering protector" of the body, comprises an intricate neuro-endocrine-immune network that maintains homeostasis. With reciprocal neural connections to multiple brain regions, the VN serves as a control center that integrates interoceptive information and responds with appropriate adaptive modulatory feedbacks. While most VN fibers are unmyelinated C-fibers from the visceral organs, myelinated A- and B-fiber play an important role in somatic sensory, motor, and parasympathetic innervation. VN fibers are primarily cholinergic but other noncholinergic nonadrenergic neurotransmitters are also involved. VN has four vagal nuclei that provide critical controls to the cardiovascular, respiratory, and alimentary systems. Latest studies revealed that VN is also involved in inflammation, mood, and pain regulation, all of which can be potentially modulated by vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). With a broad vagal neural network, VNS may exert a neuromodulatory effect to activate certain innate "protective" pathways for restoring health.
© 2015 American Headache Society.
KEYWORDS: neuromodulation; vagus nerve; vagus nerve stimulation
PMID: 26364692 DOI: 10.1111/head.12647