Vagus nerve stimulation paired with tones restores auditory processing in a rat model of Rett syndrome

Katherine S. Adcock, Collin Chandler, Elizabeth P. Buell, Bleyda R. Solorzano, Kristofer W. Loerwald, Michael S. Borland, Crystal T. Engineer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study investigates the potential of using vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) paired with tones to improve auditory processing in rats with a genetic mutation related to Rett syndrome, a rare neurological disorder. Utilizing 17 female heterozygous Mecp2 rats (modeling Rett syndrome) and 8 female wild-type rats, researchers administered VNS-tone pairing therapy 300 times per day for 20 days, then examined the auditory cortex responses. The findings revealed that the Mecp2 mutation altered auditory cortex responses, but the VNS-tone pairing therapy improved the cortical response strength to both tones and speech sounds in Mecp2 rats compared to untreated ones. Additionally, the therapy enhanced the neural response's information content aiding in consonant sounds discrimination. Therefore, the study suggests that VNS-tone pairing could be a viable strategy to enhance auditory function in individuals with Rett syndrome.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1494-1503
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus Subject Areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Biophysics
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Auditory cortex
  • Mecp2
  • Plasticity
  • Rett syndrome
  • Vagal nerve stimulation

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