[en] vagus nerve stimulation ; formalin test ; hot water nociceptive test ; antinociception
[en] The analgesic effect of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has not yet been demonstrated in animals with the devices used in the clinic. We studied in awake rats the effects of two VNS protocols on the hind paw hot water test and compared the results with those previously obtained in the oro-facial formalin test. A stringent duty cycle (20 s on/18 s off) increased heat pain tolerance in both hind paws (average 188%) after 2 h of stimulation. VNS with parameters used in epilepsy (30 s on/5 min off) decreased heat tolerance after 2 h, but produced a significant antinociceptive effect after days of stimulation. VNS may thus be useful in pain disorders, even with the less stringent protocol. (C) 2003 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.