Stress activates the immune system, Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal (HPA) axis and the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) with inter-individual differences. Preliminary, animal and human studies suggest that the parasympathetic branch of the ANS (vagus-nerve) is anti-inflammatory and reduces activity of the stress response. Recent innovations allow non-invasive trans-cutaneous Vagal (Nerve) Stimulation (t-VNS) in humans. Students will use validated methods in both rodents and health humans before and after administration of vagal stimulation to determine if stress response systems can be modulated and study reasons for inter-individual differences. This work has implications for treatment of chronic stress related disorders and inflammatory diseases.
Major B, Rattazzi L, Brod S, Pilipovic I, Leposavic G, and D'Acquisto F. Massage-like stroking boosts the immune system in mice. Sci Rep. 2015;5(10913.
Rattazzi L, Piras G, Ono M, Deacon R, Pariante CM, and D'Acquisto F. CD4(+) but not CD8(+) T cells revert the impaired emotional behavior of immunocompromised RAG-1-deficient mice. Transl Psychiatry. 2013;3(e280.
Farmer AD, Coen SJ, Kano M, Weltens N, Ly HG, Botha C, Paine PA, Oudenhove LV, Aziz Q. Normal values and reproducibility of the real-time index of vagal tone in healthy humans: a multi-center study. Ann Gastroenterol. 2014;27(4):362-368.
Botha C, Farmer AD, Nilsson M, Brock C, Gavrila AD, Drewes AM, Knowles CH, Aziz Q. Preliminary report: modulation of parasympathetic nervous system tone influences oesophageal pain hypersensitivity. Gut. 2015 Apr;64(4):611-7. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2013-306698.
Farmer AD, Al Omran Y, Aziz Q, Andrews PL. The role of the parasympathetic nervous system in visually induced motion sickness: systematic review and meta-analysis. Exp Brain Res. 2014 Aug;232(8):2665-73. doi: 10.1007/s00221-014-3964-3. Epub 2014 May 4. Review. PubMed PMID: 24792503.