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Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2019.00911

Vagus Nerve Stimulation in Rodent Models: An Overview of Technical Considerations

 Crystal M. Noller1, 2, 3*,  Yaakov Levine4, Timur Urakov5, 6, Joshua Aronson2, 3 and  Mark Nash1, 5, 7
  • 1University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, United States
  • 2Section of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center, United States
  • 3Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth College, United States
  • 4SetPoint Medical, Inc., United States
  • 5Department of Neurological Surgery, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, United States
  • 6Jackson Memorial Hospital, United States
  • 7Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine, Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, United States

Over the last several decades, vagus nerve stimulation has evolved from a treatment for select neuropsychiatric disorders to one that holds promise in treating numerous inflammatory conditions. Growing interest has focused on the use of vagus nerve stimulation for other indications, such as heart failure, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, ischemic stroke, and traumatic brain injury. As pre-clinical research often guides expansion into new clinical avenues, animal models of vagus nerve stimulation have also increased in recent years. To advance this promising treatment, however, there are a number of experimental parameters that must be considered when planning a study, such as physiology of the vagus nerve, electrical stimulation parameters, electrode design, stimulation equipment, and microsurgical technique. In this review, we discuss these important considerations and how a combination of clinically-relevant stimulation parameters can be used to achieve beneficial therapeutic results in pre-clinical studies of sub-acute to chronic vagus nerve stimulation, and provide a practical guide for performing this work in rodent models. Finally, by integrating clinical and pre-clinical research, we present indeterminate issues as opportunities for future research.

Keywords: Vagus Nerve Stimulation, Vagus Nerve, Neuromodulation, nerve cuff electrode, Electrical Stimulation

Received: 20 Mar 2019; Accepted: 16 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Noller, Levine, Urakov, Aronson and Nash. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: PhD. Crystal M. Noller, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, 33136, Florida, United States,