Implantable medical devices are finding increasing use in the treatment of diseases traditionally targeted with drugs. It is well established that the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway serves as a physiological regulator of inflammatory responses, but stimulation of this pathway therapeutically by electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve can also diminish excessive or dysregulated states of inflammation. Recent data from a wide variety of animal models, as well as evidence of reduced vagal tone in rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, support the rationale for, and feasibility of, developing implantable vagal nerve stimulation devices to treat chronic inflammation in humans.
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Competing interests RJZ is an employee of SetPoint Medical, a company developing implantable devics for human use.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.