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Keywords:

  • epilepsy;
  • cranial nerve;
  • seizure;
  • electrical stimulation

Abstract

We have previously shown that left-sided vagus nerve stimulation results in cessation of induced spinal cord seizures. To test our hypothesis that right-sided vagus nerve stimulation will also abort seizure activity, we have initiated seizures in the spinal cord and then performed right-sided vagus nerve stimulation in an animal model. Four pigs were anesthetized and placed in the lateral position and a small laminectomy performed in the lumbar region. Topical penicillin, a known epileptogenic drug to the cerebral cortex and spinal cord, was next applied to the dorsal surface of the exposed cord. With the exception of the control animal, once seizure activity was discernible via motor convulsion or increased electrical activity, the right vagus nerve previously isolated in the neck was stimulated. Following multiple stimulations of the vagus nerve and with seizure activity confirmed, the cord was transected in the midthoracic region and vagus nerve stimulation performed. Right-sided vagus nerve stimulation resulted in cessation of spinal cord seizure activity in all animals. Transection of the spinal cord superior to the site of seizure induction resulted in the ineffectiveness of vagus nerve stimulation in causing cessation of seizure activity in all study animals. As with left-sided vagus nerve stimulation, right-sided vagus nerve stimulation results in cessation of induced spinal cord seizures. Additionally, the effects of right-sided vagus nerve stimulation on induced spinal cord seizures involve descending spinal pathways. These data may aid in the development of alternative mechanisms for electrical stimulation for patients with medically intractable seizures and add to our knowledge regarding the mechanism for seizure cessation following peripheral nerve stimulation. Clin. Anat. 20:23–26, 2007. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.