Vagus nerve stimulation for depression: Rationale, anatomical and physiological basis of efficacy and future prospects

M. C. Park, M. A. Goldman, L. L. Carpenter, L. H. Price, Gerhard M. Friehs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

20 Scopus citations


Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is a major public health concern due to its high costs to society. One of the novel approaches for the treatment of depression is the vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Therapeutic brain stimulation through delivery of pulsed electrical impulses to the left cervical vagus nerve now has established safety and efficacy as an adjunct treatment for medication-resistant epilepsy and has recently been approved as an adjunct long-term treatment for chronic or recurrent depression. There is considerable evidence from both animal and human neurochemical and neuroimaging studies, that the vagus nerve and its stimulation influence limbic and higher cortical brain regions implicated in mood disorders, providing a rationale for its possible role in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Clinical studies (open-label and comparator with treatment in naturalistic setting) in patients with TRD have produced promising results, especially when the response rates at longer-term (one- and two-year) follow-up time points are considered. Ongoing research efforts will help determine the place of VNS in the armament of therapeutic modalities available for major depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOperative Neuromodulation
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 2: Neural Networks Surgery
PublisherSpringer Wien
Number of pages10
Edition97 PART 2
ISBN (Print)9783211330807
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameActa Neurochirurgica, Supplementum
Number97 PART 2
ISSN (Print)0065-1419


  • Vagus nerve stimulation
  • major depressive disorder
  • treatment-resistant depression


Dive into the research topics of 'Vagus nerve stimulation for depression: Rationale, anatomical and physiological basis of efficacy and future prospects'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this