Non-invasive electrostimulation leads to improved memory in mice

Non-invasive electrostimulation leads to improved memory in mice

News from DCEXS-UPF

Researchers at UPF are testing a new non-invasive method of stimulating the vagus nerve in mice that improves their memory. They have shown for the first time that electrostimulation in the ear of intellectual disability rodent models leads to a cognitive improvement. The study is the result of collaboration between research groups at the Department of Experimental and Health Sciences, Pompeu Fabra University (DCEXS-UPF) and the Department of Information and Communication Technologies, Pompeu Fabra University (DTIC-UPF). It has been coordinated by the researcher Andrés Ozaita, principal investigator at the Neuropharmacology Laboratory-NeuroPhar.

Previous studies had revealed the modulation of memory using invasive and non-invasive approaches in animal models and in humans, but non-invasive transcutaneous —through the skin— approaches had not been tested so far in mouse models.

Researchers at the Biomedical Electronics Research Group developed an electrode to allow non-invasive electrostimulation of the vagus nerve in mice.

Andrés Ozaita notes that "the results confirm the potential of this therapeutic tool that is worth exploring in the context of neurodevelopmental disorders, as previously proposed for invasive forms". Knowing that this technique is functional opens up an important field at the pre-clinical level, since it can be applied to animal models of other diseases. "Now we are focusing on the cellular and molecular results produced by this intervention to be able to elucidate the mechanisms involved", he concludes.


Vázquez-Oliver A, Brambilla-Pisoni C,  Domingo-Gainza M, Maldonado R, Ivorra A, Ozaita A.Auricular transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation improves memory persistence in naïve mice and in an intellectual disability mouse model. Brain Stimulation, December 2019.

More information:
DCEXS-UPF website