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Review

Application of Noninvasive Vagal Nerve Stimulation to Stress-Related Psychiatric Disorders

1
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
2
Department of Radiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
3
Atlanta VA Medical Center, Decatur, GA 30033, USA
4
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
5
Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
6
Department of Medicine, Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
7
Department of Medicine, Renal Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA
8
Department of Biomedical Engineering, City University of New York, New York, NY 10010, USA
9
Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10(3), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030119
Received: 18 June 2020 / Revised: 2 September 2020 / Accepted: 3 September 2020 / Published: 9 September 2020
Background: Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) has been shown to be efficacious for the treatment of depression, but to date, VNS devices have required surgical implantation, which has limited widespread implementation. Methods: New noninvasive VNS (nVNS) devices have been developed which allow external stimulation of the vagus nerve, and their effects on physiology in patients with stress-related psychiatric disorders can be measured with brain imaging, blood biomarkers, and wearable sensing devices. Advantages in terms of cost and convenience may lead to more widespread implementation in psychiatry, as well as facilitate research of the physiology of the vagus nerve in humans. nVNS has effects on autonomic tone, cardiovascular function, inflammatory responses, and central brain areas involved in modulation of emotion, all of which make it particularly applicable to patients with stress-related psychiatric disorders, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, since dysregulation of these circuits and systems underlies the symptomatology of these disorders. Results: This paper reviewed the physiology of the vagus nerve and its relevance to modulating the stress response in the context of application of nVNS to stress-related psychiatric disorders. Conclusions: nVNS has a favorable effect on stress physiology that is measurable using brain imaging, blood biomarkers of inflammation, and wearable sensing devices, and shows promise in the prevention and treatment of stress-related psychiatric disorders. View Full-Text
Keywords: PTSD; stress disorders; posttraumatic; depressive disorders; vagus nerve; VNS; sympathetic; inflammation; interleukin-6; vagal nerve stimulation; interferon; stress PTSD; stress disorders; posttraumatic; depressive disorders; vagus nerve; VNS; sympathetic; inflammation; interleukin-6; vagal nerve stimulation; interferon; stress
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bremner, J.D.; Gurel, N.Z.; Wittbrodt, M.T.; Shandhi, M.H.; Rapaport, M.H.; Nye, J.A.; Pearce, B.D.; Vaccarino, V.; Shah, A.J.; Park, J.; Bikson, M.; Inan, O.T. Application of Noninvasive Vagal Nerve Stimulation to Stress-Related Psychiatric Disorders. J. Pers. Med. 2020, 10, 119. https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030119

AMA Style

Bremner JD, Gurel NZ, Wittbrodt MT, Shandhi MH, Rapaport MH, Nye JA, Pearce BD, Vaccarino V, Shah AJ, Park J, Bikson M, Inan OT. Application of Noninvasive Vagal Nerve Stimulation to Stress-Related Psychiatric Disorders. Journal of Personalized Medicine. 2020; 10(3):119. https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030119

Chicago/Turabian Style

Bremner, James D., Nil Z. Gurel, Matthew T. Wittbrodt, Mobashir H. Shandhi, Mark H. Rapaport, Jonathon A. Nye, Bradley D. Pearce, Viola Vaccarino, Amit J. Shah, Jeanie Park, Marom Bikson, and Omer T. Inan 2020. "Application of Noninvasive Vagal Nerve Stimulation to Stress-Related Psychiatric Disorders" Journal of Personalized Medicine 10, no. 3: 119. https://doi.org/10.3390/jpm10030119

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