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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2019 Aug 1;9(8). pii: a034199. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a034199.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation at the Interface of Brain-Gut Interactions.

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Division of Hepato-Gastroenterology, Grenoble University Hospital, 38043 Grenoble Cedex 09, France.
U1216, INSERM, GIN, Grenoble Institute of Neurosciences, University Grenoble Alpes, Grenoble, France.
University Grenoble Alpes, University Savoie Mont Blanc, 38000 Grenoble, France.


The vagus nerve, a key component of the cross-communication between the gut and the brain, is a major element of homeostasis sensing the "milieu intérieur" and boosting the nervous and endocrine responses to maintain the gastrointestinal health status. This nerve has anti-inflammatory properties regulating the gut through the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the release of cortisol and through a vagovagal reflex, which has an anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) effect called the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway. Stimulating this nerve is an interesting tool as a nondrug therapy for the treatment of gastrointestinal diseases in which brain-gut communication is dysfunctional, such as inflammatory bowel disorders and others. This review presents the rationale of vagal gastrointestinal physiology and diseases and the most recent advances in vagus nerve stimulation. It also highlights the main issues to be addressed in the future to improve this bioelectronic therapy for gastrointestinal disorders.

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