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Front. Neurosci.
Sec. Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience
Volume 18 - 2024 | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2024.1368754

Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation can modulate fronto-parietal brain networks

Provisionally accepted
  • 1 Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 2 Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences for Convergence Medicine, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Anyang, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea
  • 3 College of Medicine, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Gangwon, Republic of Korea
  • 4 Sensory Institute, Medical Research Center, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea

The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon.

    OBJECTIVES: Recent studies have shown that transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation (tVNS) holds promise as a treatment for neurological or psychiatric disease through the ability to modulate neural activity in some brain regions without an invasive procedure. The objective of this study was to identify the neural correlates underlying the effects of tVNS. METHODS: Twenty right-handed healthy subjects with normal hearing participated in this study. An auricle-applied tVNS device (Soricle, Neurive Co., Ltd., Gyeongsangnam-do, Republic of Korea) was used to administer tVNS stimulation. A session consisted of 14 blocks, including 7 blocks of tVNS stimulation or sham stimulation and 7 blocks of rest, and lasted approximately 7 minutes (1 block=30 seconds). Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was performed during the stimulation. RESULTS: No activated regions were observed in the fMRI scans following both sham stimulation and tVNS after the first session. After the second session, tVNS activated two clusters of brain regions in the right frontal gyrus. A comparison of the activated regions after the second session of each stimulation revealed that the fMRI following tVNS exhibited four surviving clusters. Additionally, four clusters were activated in the overall stimulated area during both the first and second sessions. When comparing the fMRI results after each type of stimulation, the fMRI following tVNS showed four surviving clusters compared to the fMRI after sham stimulation. CONCLUSION: tVNS could stimulate some brain regions, including the fronto-parietal network. Stimulating these regions for treating neurological or psychiatric disease might require applying tVNS for at least 3.5 minutes.

    Keywords: Transcutaneous vagal nerve stimulation, Brain Mapping, fronto-parietal network, neurostimulation, Neuromodulation

    Received: 11 Jan 2024; Accepted: 24 Jun 2024.

    Copyright: © 2024 Han, Shim, Lee and Park. 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) or licensor 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:
    Hyo-Jeong Lee, Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences for Convergence Medicine, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Anyang, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea
    Moo Kyun Park, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea

    Disclaimer: All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article or claim that may be made by its manufacturer is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.