A systems level approach to modulation of adipocyte-brain crosstalk by transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation

Project Description:

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has been introduced as a treatment option for several neurological diseases with a recent extension towards non-invasive transcutaneous stimulation of the auricular branch of the nerve at the outer ear. In animals, both high and low frequency stimulation has been shown to decrease food intake and body weight, and to modulate ghrelin, nesfatin-1 and leptin. In humans, there is scarce evidence from invasive VNS stimulation in migraine and epilepsy which suggests that VNS might be beneficial in those subjects with increased BMI in the sense of weight reduction. Transcutaneous VNS modulates activity in central vagal projections and hypothalamus, with the latter a likely candidate for its effect on weight modulation.

The PhD student will perform a four-week trial of transcutaneous VNS in obese and normal weight participants combined with serial hormone sampling, functional neuroimaging, event-related potential recording and behavioral testing. 

Experimental Methods:

  • Intervention study
  • Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation
  • Functional Imaging
  • Behavioral testing
  • Hormonal profiling