Transcutaneous Auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation: From Concept to Application

Abstract

Whether in the West or the East, the connection between the ear and the rest of the body has been explored for a long time. Especially in the past century or more, the relevant theoretical and applied research on the ear has greatly promoted the development of ear therapy, and finally the concept of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) has been proposed. The purpose of taVNS is to treat a disease non-invasively by applying electrical current to the cutaneous receptive field formed by the auricular branch of the vagus nerve in the outer ear. In the past two decades, taVNS has been a topic of basic, clinical, and transformation research. It has been applied as an alternative to drug treatment for a variety of diseases. Based on the rapid understanding of the application of taVNS to human health and disease, some limitations in the development of this field have also been gradually exposed. Here, we comprehensively review the origin and research status of the field.

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Acknowledgements

This review was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2018YFC1705800), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81803872, 81674072), the Joint Sino-German Research Project (GZ1236), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Public Welfare Research Institutes (ZZ201813006).

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Correspondence to Pei-Jing Rong.

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Wang, Y., Li, SY., Wang, D. et al. Transcutaneous Auricular Vagus Nerve Stimulation: From Concept to Application. Neurosci. Bull. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12264-020-00619-y

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Keywords

  • Transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation
  • Concept
  • Application
  • Development