Locus coeruleus tyrosine hydroxylase positive neurons mediated the peripheral and central therapeutic effects of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) in MRL/lpr mice

  • Impact factors: 7.7
  • Publication: Brain Stimulation
  • Author:Hongjie Lv, Xiu Yu, Ping Wang, Mengxian Luo, Yijun Luo, Haimei Lu, Keer Wang, Anran Xi, Chengping Wen, Zhenghao Xu
  • DOI citation-doi:10.1016/j.brs.2023.12.008
  • Date:2023-12-23

Objective This study aims to investigate the effects of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) on the development of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) in MRL/lpr mice. Methods MRL/lpr mice were treated with taVNS for ten weeks. Locus coeruleus (LC) tyrosine hydroxylase positive (TH + ) neurons were selectively lesioned by stereotactic injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) or selectively activated by chemogenetic methods. Sympathetic denervation was conducted by intraperitoneal injection of 6-OHDA. Results TaVNS activated the TH  +  neurons in LC. TaVNS produced central therapeutic effects by reducing the number of hippocampal microglia, and increasing the number of surviving LC TH + neurons in MRL/lpr mice. TaVNS also retarded the development of lymphadenectasis and splenomegaly, decreased the proportion of double-negative T (DNT) cells, and alleviated nephritis in MRL/lpr mice. The lesion of LC TH + neurons eliminated both these central and peripheral therapeutic effects of taVNS, while chemogenetic activation of LC TH + neurons mimicked most central and peripheral protective effects of taVNS in MRL/lpr mice. Furthermore, taVNS regulated the autonomic nervous system in MRL/lpr mice. Conclusion This study provides direct evidence that taVNS can retard the development of peripheral and central symptoms of SLE, which is mediated by the LC TH + neurons.

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