Neurochemical effects of vagus nerve stimulation in humans

Brain Res. 1992 Jun 26;583(1-2):300-3. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(10)80038-1.


An implanted stimulating device chronically stimulated the left cervical vagus nerve in epileptic patients. Cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of free and total gamma-aminobutyric acid, homovanillic acid, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, aspartate, glutamate, asparagine, serine, glutamine, glycine, phosphoethanolamine, taurine, alanine, tyrosine, ethanolamine, valine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, vasoactive intestinal peptide, beta-endorphin, and somatostatin were measured before and after 2 months of chronic stimulation in six patients. Significant increases were seen in homovanillic acid and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in three patients, and significant decreases in aspartate were seen in five patients. These changes were associated with a decrease in seizure frequency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Biogenic Amines / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Epilepsy, Complex Partial / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Epilepsy, Complex Partial / physiopathology*
  • Hormones / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Vagus Nerve / physiopathology*


  • Amino Acids
  • Biogenic Amines
  • Hormones