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Burns. 2013 Feb;39(1):68-75. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2012.04.004. Epub 2012 Jun 12.

Vagus nerve stimulation blocks vascular permeability following burn in both local and distal sites.

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Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care, and Burns, Department of Surgery, University of California San Diego Health Sciences, MC 8236, 212 Dickinson Street, San Diego, CA 92103, USA.


Recent studies have shown that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) can block the burn-induced systemic inflammatory response (SIRS). In this study we examined the potential for VNS to modulate vascular permeability (VP) in local sites (i.e. skin) and in secondary sites (i.e. lung) following burn. In a 30% total body surface area burn model, VP was measured using intravascular fluorescent dextran for quantification of the VP response in skin and lung. A peak in VP of the skin was observed 24h post-burn injury, that was blocked by VNS. Moreover, in the lung, VNS led to a reduction in burn-induced VP compared to sham-treated animals subjected to burn alone. The protective effects of VNS in this model were independent of the spleen, suggesting that the spleen was not a direct mediator of VNS. These studies identify a role for VNS in the regulation of VP in burns, with the translational potential of attenuating lung complications following burn.

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