Send to

Choose Destination
Pain. 2002 Apr;96(3):247-52.

Preferential stimulation of Adelta fibers by intra-epidermal needle electrode in humans.

Author information

Department of Integrative Physiology, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Myodaiji, Okazaki 444-8585, Japan.


We recorded evoked potentials (EPs) induced by conventional transcutaneous electrical stimulation (TS), laser stimulation (LS) and epidermal electrical stimulation (ES) using a specially made needle electrode. We evaluated the activated fibers by epidermal stimulation by assessing the conduction velocity (CV) of the peripheral nerves. The EPs were recorded from Cz electrode (vertex) of the International 10-20 system in 12 healthy subjects. For the ES, the tip of a stainless steel needle electrode was inserted in the epidermis of the skin (0.2 mm in depth). Distal and proximal sites of the upper limb were stimulated by the LS and ES with an intensity which induced a definite pain sensation. Similar sites were stimulated by TS with an intensity of two times the sensory threshold. A major EP positive response (P1) was obtained by stimulation by all three types of stimuli. The P1 latency for the TS (245+/-22 ms) was significantly shorter than that for the ES (302+/-17 ms, P<0.0001) and LS (341+/-21 ms, P<0.0001) and the peak latency P1 by the LS was also significantly longer, approximately 40 ms, than that by the ES (P<0.0001). The CVs were 15.1, 15.3 and 44.1 m/s obtained by ES, LS and TS, respectively. The CV indicated that the fibers activated by the ES were mainly A fibers, which corresponded to the fibers stimulated by the LS. We considered that the ES with our newly developed needle electrode was a very convenient method for the selective stimulation of the A fibers, since it was very simple, not requiring any special apparatus, did not cause bleeding or burns and caused minimum uncomfortable feeling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center