Neurochemical effects of vagus nerve stimulation in humans.
An implanted stimulating device chronically stimulated the left cervical vagus nerve in epileptic patients. Cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of free and total gamma-aminobutyric acid, homovanillic acid, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid, aspartate, glutamate, asparagine, serine, glutamine, glycine, phosphoethanolamine, taurine, alanine, tyrosine, ethanolamine, valine, phenylalanine, isoleucine, vasoactive intestinal peptide, beta-endorphin, and somatostatin were measured before and after 2 months of chronic stimulation in six patients. Significant increases were seen in homovanillic acid and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid in three patients, and significant decreases in aspartate were seen in five patients. These changes were associated with a decrease in seizure frequency.