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Original Article
Instant brain effect of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation in treating the treatment-resistant depression by resting rtate functional magnetic resonance imaging
WANG Zhi  HE Jiakai  SUN Jifei  CHEN Limei  GUO Chunlei  ZHANG Guolei  FANG Jiliang 

Cite this article as: Wang Z, He JK, Sun JF, et al. Instant brain effect of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation in treating the treatment-resistant depression by resting rtate functional magnetic resonance imaging[J]. Chin J Magn Reson Imaging, 2022, 13(1): 70-75, 97. DOI:10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2022.01.014.

[Abstract] Objective Resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) was used to investigate the instant brain effect of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS) on treatment-resistant depression (TRD), in order to lay a foundation for revealing the brain mechanism of taVNS's therapeutic effect.Materials and Methods: Thirty-four TRD and 34 healthy volunteers were enrolled, and the data of scale's scores were recorded for every subject. TRD were stimulated by taVNS for 30 minutes, and the rs-fMRI data were collected twice before and after stimulation immediately. Healthy volunteers were not stimulated and only scanned once with rs-fMRI. After comparing the amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (ALFF), functional connectivity (FC) values between TRD and HC, the ALFF values of different brain regions were further extracted and analyzed for partial correlation with scale's scores.Results In baseline, the ALFF values in the left pallidus/hypothalamus/caudate, the left precentral/middle frontal gyrus in the TRD group were significantly higher. ALFF values of left precentral /middle frontal gyrus were positively correlated with HAMD-17, SDS scores of TRD patients, respectively [(P=0.013, r=0.442), (P=0.026, r=0.400)]. It found that the FC value between left precentral gyrus/middle frontal gyrus and bilateral middle cingulate gyrus, support motor areas, left medial superior frontal gyrus and left lenticulate nucleus (including pallidus and putamen) was significantly higher. In TRD, the ALFF values of pre-treatment were significantly lower than that in post-treatment in the bilateral cerebellar area 1 and left cerebellar area 2 in the left inferior middle frontal gyrus orbital region.Conclusions TRD showed the abnormal brain functional activities in limbic system-cortical-striatus-globus-pallidus-thalamus neural circuit, in which motor cortex and cognition-related brain regions may be related to the negative emotion. TaVNS can immediately regulate brain spontaneous activities in TRD patients, which involves brain regions related to emotion and cognition, and may be a potential functional brain target of taVNS therapy on TRD.
[Keywords] resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging;treatment-resistant depression;transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation;instant brain effect;orbital frontal cortex

WANG Zhi1   HE Jiakai1, 2   SUN Jifei1   CHEN Limei1   GUO Chunlei1   ZHANG Guolei3*   FANG Jiliang1*  

1 Functional Brain imaging Lab, Guang'anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100053, China

2 Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, China

3 Department of Radiology, Guang'anmen Hospital, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100053, China

Zhang GL, E-mail: Fang JL, E-mail:

Conflicts of interest   None.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS National Key Research and Development Program of China (No. 2018YFC1705802); National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81774433); China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (CACMS) 2019 'One Belt And One Road' International Cooperation Special Project (No. GH201912).
Received  2021-10-19
Accepted  2021-12-28
DOI: 10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2022.01.014
Cite this article as: Wang Z, He JK, Sun JF, et al. Instant brain effect of transcutaneous auricular vagus nerve stimulation in treating the treatment-resistant depression by resting rtate functional magnetic resonance imaging[J]. Chin J Magn Reson Imaging, 2022, 13(1): 70-75, 97. DOI:10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2022.01.014.

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