Vagal Nerve Stimulation-Modulation of the Anti-Inflammatory Response and Clinical Outcome in Psoriatic Arthritis or Ankylosing Spondylitis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • C. Brock
  • S. E. Rasmussen
  • A. M. Drewes
  • H. J. Møller
  • Brock, Birgitte
  • B. Deleuran
  • A. D. Farmer
  • M. Pfeiffer-Jensen

Objectives. The vagal nerve exerts an essential pathway in controlling the cholinergic anti-inflammatory reflex. Thus, the study is aimed at investigating the acute effect of a noninvasive transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation on clinical disease activity and systemic levels of inflammation in patients with psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. Methods. Twenty patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and 20 patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) were included and stimulated bilaterally with a handheld vagal nerve stimulator for 120 seconds 3 times a day for 5 consecutive days. All patients were in remission. Cardiac vagal tone, clinical scores, CRP, and cytokine levels were assessed. Results. In PsA and AS, decreased heart rate was observed, confirming compliance. Furthermore, in PsA, a clear reduction of clinical disease activity associated with a 20% reduction in CRP was shown. In AS, a reduction in interferon-γ, interleukin- (IL-) 8, and 10 was shown. No side effects were described. Conclusion. This open-label study provides support for an anti-inflammatory effect of transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation in patients with psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. The modulated immune response and reduced disease activity and CRP-levels raise the fascinating possibility of using neuromodulation as an add-on to existing pharmacological treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9933532
JournalMediators of Inflammation
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 C. Brock et al.

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