Impact of anesthesia on micromagnetic stimulation (μMS) of the vagus nerve

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To treat diseases associated with vagal nerve control of peripheral organs, it is necessary to selectively activate efferent and afferent fibers in the vagus. As a result of the nerve’s complex anatomy, fiber-specific activation proves challenging. Spatially selective neuromodulation using micromagnetic stimulation(μMS) is showing incredible promise. This neuromodulation technique uses microcoils(μcoils) to generate magnetic fields by powering them with a time-varying current. Following the principles of Faraday’s law of induction, a highly directional electric field is induced in the nerve from the magnetic field. In this study on rodent cervical vagus, a solenoidal μcoil was oriented at an angle to left and right branches of the nerve. The aim of this study was to measure changes in the mean arterial pressure (MAP) and heart rate (HR) following μMS of the vagus. The μcoils were powered by a single-cycle sinusoidal current varying in pulse widths(PW = 100, 500, and 1000 μsec) at a frequency of 20 Hz. Under the influence of isoflurane, μMS of the left vagus at 1000 μsec PW led to an average drop in MAP of 16.75 mmHg(n = 7). In contrast, μMS of the right vagus under isoflurane resulted in an average drop of 11.93 mmHg in the MAP(n = 7). Surprisingly, there were no changes in HR to either right or left vagal μMS suggesting the drop in MAP associated with vagus μMS was the result of stimulation of afferent, but not efferent fibers. In urethane anesthetized rats, no changes in either MAP or HR were observed upon μMS of the right or left vagus(n = 3). These findings suggest the choice of anesthesia plays a key role in determining the efficacy of μMS on the vagal nerve. Absence of HR modulation upon μMS could offer alternative treatment options using VNS with fewer heart-related side-effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035028
JournalBiomedical Physics and Engineering Express
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd


  • anesthesia
  • cervical vagus
  • hypertension
  • micromagnetic stimulation
  • spatially selective neuromodulation
  • vagus nerve

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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