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J Neurophysiol. 2016 Jul 1;116(1):51-60. doi: 10.1152/jn.00961.2015. Epub 2016 Apr 6.

Microstimulation of the lumbar DRG recruits primary afferent neurons in localized regions of lower limb.

Author information

1
Center for Neural Basis of Cognition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and.
2
Center for Neural Basis of Cognition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania lef44@pitt.edu.
3
Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
4
Center for Neural Basis of Cognition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Department of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Abstract

Patterned microstimulation of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) has been proposed as a method for delivering tactile and proprioceptive feedback to amputees. Previous studies demonstrated that large- and medium-diameter afferent neurons could be recruited separately, even several months after implantation. However, those studies did not examine the anatomical localization of sensory fibers recruited by microstimulation in the DRG. Achieving precise recruitment with respect to both modality and receptive field locations will likely be crucial to create a viable sensory neuroprosthesis. In this study, penetrating microelectrode arrays were implanted in the L5, L6, and L7 DRG of four isoflurane-anesthetized cats instrumented with nerve cuff electrodes around the proximal and distal branches of the sciatic and femoral nerves. A binary search was used to find the recruitment threshold for evoking a response in each nerve cuff. The selectivity of DRG stimulation was characterized by the ability to recruit individual distal branches to the exclusion of all others at threshold; 84.7% (n = 201) of the stimulation electrodes recruited a single nerve branch, with 9 of the 15 instrumented nerves recruited selectively. The median stimulation threshold was 0.68 nC/phase, and the median dynamic range (increase in charge while stimulation remained selective) was 0.36 nC/phase. These results demonstrate the ability of DRG microstimulation to achieve selective recruitment of the major nerve branches of the hindlimb, suggesting that this approach could be used to drive sensory input from localized regions of the limb. This sensory input might be useful for restoring tactile and proprioceptive feedback to a lower-limb amputee.

KEYWORDS:

dorsal root ganglia; neuroprostheses; selective stimulation; sensory feedback

PMID:
27052583
PMCID:
PMC4961745
DOI:
10.1152/jn.00961.2015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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