Cortical edema in moderate fluid percussion brain injury is attenuated by vagus nerve stimulation
Development of cerebral edema (intracellular and/or extracellular water accumulation) following traumatic brain injury contributes to mortality and morbidity that accompanies brain injury. Chronic intermittent vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) initiated at either 2 h or 24 h (VNS: 30 s train of 0.5 mA, 20 Hz, biphasic pulses every 30 min) following traumatic brain injury enhances recovery of motor and cognitive function in rats in the weeks following brain injury; however, the mechanisms of facilitated recovery are unknown. The present study examines the effects of VNS on development of acute cerebral edema following unilateral fluid percussion brain injury (FPI) in rats, concomitant with assessment of their behavioral recovery. Two hours following FPI, VNS was initiated. Behavioral testing, using both beam walk and locomotor placing tasks, was conducted at 1 and 2 days following FPI. Edema was measured 48 h post-FPI by the customary method of region-specific brain weights before and after complete dehydration. Results of this study replicated that VNS initiated at 2 h after FPI: 1) effectively facilitated the recovery of vestibulomotor function at 2 days after FPI assessed by beam walk performance (P<0.01); and 2) tended to improve locomotor placing performance at the same time point (P=0.18). Most interestingly, results of this study showed that development of edema within the cerebral cortex ipsilateral to FPI was significantly attenuated at 48 h in FPI rats receiving VNS compared with non-VNS FPI rats (P<0.04). Finally, a correlation analysis between beam walk performance and cerebral edema following FPI revealed a significant inverse correlation between behavior performance and cerebral edema. Together, these results suggest that VNS facilitation of motor recovery following experimental brain injury in rats is associated with VNS-mediated attenuation of cerebral edema. © 2007 IBRO.
Clough, R., Neese, S., Sherill, L., Tan, A., Duke, A., Roosevelt, R., . . . Smith, D. (2007). Cortical edema in moderate fluid percussion brain injury is attenuated by vagus nerve stimulation. Neuroscience, 147(2), 286-293. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.04.043