Role of vagus nerve stimulation in the treatment of chronic pain

Author: Peiqi Shao, Huili Li, Jia Jiang, Yun Guan, Xueming Chen, Yun Wang
Conference/Journal: Neuroimmunomodulation
Date published: 2023 Jun 27
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1159/000531626. , Word Count: 144

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) can modulate vagal activity and neuro-immune communication. Human and animal studies have provided growing evidence that VNS can produce analgesic effects in addition to alleviating refractory epilepsy and depression. The vagus nerve (VN) projects to many brain regions related to pain processing, which can be affected by VNS. In addition to neural regulation, the anti-inflammatory property of VNS may also contribute to its pain-inhibitory effects. To date, both invasive and non-invasive VNS devices have been developed, with non-invasive devices including transcutaneous stimulation of auricular VN or carotid VN that are undergoing many clinical trials for chronic pain treatment. This review aims to provide an update on both preclinical and clinical studies of VNS in the management for chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, abdominal pain, and headaches, etc. We further discuss potential underlying mechanisms for VNS to inhibit chronic pain.

PMID: 37369181 DOI: 10.1159/000531626