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Microneurography as a minimally invasive method to assess target engagement during neuromodulation

J Neural Eng. 2023 Mar 10. doi: 10.1088/1741-2552/acc35c. Online ahead of print.


Peripheral neural signals recorded during neuromodulation therapies provide insights into local neural target engagement and serve as a sensitive biomarker of physiological effect. Although these applications make peripheral recordings important for furthering neuromodulation therapies, the invasive nature of conventional nerve cuffs and longitudinal intrafascicular electrodes (LIFEs) limit their clinical utility. Furthermore, cuff electrodes typically record clear asynchronous neural activity in small animal models but not in large animal models. Microneurography, a minimally invasive technique, is already used routinely in humans to record asynchronous neural activity in the periphery. However, the relative performance of microneurography microelectrodes compared to cuff and LIFE electrodes in measuring neural signals relevant to neuromodulation therapies is not well understood.&#xD;&#xD;Approach. To address this gap, we recorded cervical vagus nerve (cVN) electrically evoked compound action potentials (ECAPs) and spontaneous activity in a human-scaled large animal model – the pig. Additionally, we recorded sensory evoked activity and both invasively and non-invasively evoked CAPs from the great auricular nerve (GAN). In aggregate, this study assesses the potential of microneurography electrodes to measure neural activity during neuromodulation therapies with statistically powered and pre-registered outcomes (;&#xD;Main results. The cuff recorded the largest ECAP signal (p<0.01) and had the lowest noise floor amongst the evaluated electrodes. Despite the lower signal to noise ratio, microneurography electrodes were able to detect the threshold for neural activation with similar sensitivity to cuff and LIFE electrodes once a dose-response curve was constructed. Furthermore, the microneurography electrodes recorded distinct sensory evoked neural activity.&#xD;&#xD;Significance. The results show that microneurography electrodes can measure neural signals relevant to neuromodulation therapies. Microneurography could further neuromodulation therapies by providing a real-time biomarker to guide electrode placement and stimulation parameter selection to optimize local neural fiber engagement and study mechanisms of action.

PMID:36898148 | DOI:10.1088/1741-2552/acc35c

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