Objective. Smooth muscle help regulate the diameter of the airways and their constriction can contribute to the pathology of acute asthma attacks. This study sought to determine if applying a specific electrical signal to the vagus nerve (VN) could minimize histamine-induced bronchoconstriction. Methods. Sixteen guinea pigs and three swine were anesthetized and had bipolar electrodes positioned on the cervical VNs. After the animals stabilized, i.v. histamine was titrated to elicit a moderate 2-4 cm H2O increase in pulmonary inflation pressure (Ppi). Histamine was then dosed with or without concurrent low voltage VN stimulation. Results. The peak change in Ppi following a histamine challenge was reduced in the guinea pig by VN stimulation (3.4 ± 0.4 vs. 2.1 ± 0.2 cm H2O, p < 0.001). The results were confirmed in a limited study in swine and indicate VN treatment is applicable to larger animals. Conclusion. This study suggests that VN stimulation can reduce bronchoconstriction and may prove useful as a rescue therapy in the treatment of acute asthma.
- Guinea pig
- Vagus nerve stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine