Magnetically induced vagus nerve stimulation and feeding behavior in rats

J Physiol Pharmacol. 2009 Sep;60(3):71-7.


Vagus nerve (VN) contribute to the bidirectional communication between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. Stimulation of the VN by a magnetically-driven solenoid with parameters similar to those during food-induced stomach distension has been thought to mimic short-term signaling of satiety and suppress food intake. In this study, the determination of optimal parameters of vagal neuro-modulation to achieve decreased food intake with a resulting reduction in body mass of rats is explored as therapy to treat obesity. The experimental design consisted of three groups of obese adult male Wistar rats: Group 1: VEMF - with solenoid's electrodes placed on the left VN in the magnetic field exposure (MFE); Group 2: EMF - without solenoid's electrodes on the VN in MFE; Group 3: CON - without solenoid's electrodes on the VN outside the MFE. This study suggests that the rats with solenoid's electrodes placed on the left VN significantly decreased their food intake, weight gain and serum leptin concentrations when compared to that of the CON group. PP levels were found to be higher in the VEMF group when compared to the controls groups. It was found that the most effective parameters of vagal stimulation on eating behavior were 3631, 7861, 14523 A(2) x h/m(2). The magnetic field by unknown mechanisms also influences feeding behavior. This study suggests that vago-vagal reflexes are involved in the feeding homeostasis and that neuromodulation might be an effective method for managing obesity. Further studies are required to confirm these effects in humans.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eating / physiology
  • Electrodes
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Magnetic Field Therapy / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Field Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Satiety Response / physiology
  • Stomach / innervation
  • Stomach / physiology
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation / instrumentation
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation / methods*