About this Research Topic
The vagus nerve is related to the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system and is composed by around 85% of afferent fibers. There is compelling evidence that vagal nerve activity is associated with a variety of physiological, psychological, behavioral variables, and a large number of health outcomes and diseases. The vagus nerve activity has also been associated with hypothalamic-adrenal-pituitary axis function, glucose regulation, anti-inflammatory mechanisms and its interaction with brainstem areas is important for cardiovascular and respiratory regulation, including baroreflex, chemoreflex, and cardiopulmonary reflex.
Some physiological role was credited to the vagal hepatic branch. Afferent vagal hepatic fibers were reported to participate in liver and bowel signals on blood glucose regulation and appetite. Very recently, it was recommended to maintain intact the hepatic branch of the vagus during one-anastomosis gastric bypass surgery, because the vagus nerve was proposed to improve metabolic rehabilitation.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the vagus nerve was also previously investigated. The vagus nerve regulates inflammatory reaction in various organ and systems. Vagal activation was shown to attenuate inflammatory responses in rats. On the other hand, experiments with animals have shown that vagotomy increases inflammatory impairment, increasing their vulnerability to inflammatory stimulation. Moreover, preclinical investigations have reported that the vagus nerve is crucial for neural communication with the gut microbiome. This is because it was evidenced that vagotomy eliminated central Lactobacillus rhamnosus effects.
The vagus nerve activation was related to decreased risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and all-cause mortality. On the other hand, vagal dysfunction is related to several disorders.
It has been demonstrated that throughout the life cycle, a parasympathetic system function has a parabolic behavior with low activity in premature and term newborn (due to immaturity), maximum activity in young adults, and progressive loss with progression of age and disease age (degeneration), being almost nil in cases of imminent death.
In this context, this Research Topic intends to call experts in the area of neuroscience to provide an overview and analysis of scientifically sound evidence that evaluates the involvement of the vagus nerve in health and disease.
To this aim, we welcome authors to focus on:
• Experimental studies with vagal nerve stimulation.
• Evidence regarding the relationship between vagal activity and disease.
• Studies with vagal control of cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
• New tools for development of vagal stimulation.
Keywords: Vagus Nerve, Autonomic Nervous System, Baroreflex, Disease, Health
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