Chronic implantation of cuff electrodes on the pelvic nerve in rats is well tolerated and does not compromise afferent or efferent fibre functionality

Jon Crook, Charly Brouillard, Pedro Irazoqui, Thelma Lovick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
271 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Objective Neuromodulation of autonomic nerve activity to regulate physiological processes is an emerging field. Vagal stimulation has received most attention whereas the potential of modulate visceral function by targeting autonomic nerves within the abdominal cavity remains under-exploited. Surgery to locate intra-abdominal targets is inherently more stressful than for peripheral nerves. Electrode leads risk becoming entrapped by intestines and loss of functionality in the nerve-target organ connection could result from electrode migration or twisting. Since nociceptor afferents are intermingled with similar-sized visceral autonomic fibres, stimulation may induce pain. In anaesthetised rats high frequency stimulation of the pelvic nerve can suppress urinary voiding but it is not known how conscious animals would react to this procedure. Our objective therefore was to determine how rats tolerated chronic implantation of cuff electrodes on the pelvic nerve, whether nerve stimulation would be aversive and whether nerve-bladder functionality would be compromised. Approach We carried out a preliminary de-risking study to investigate how conscious rats tolerated chronic implantation of electrodes on the pelvic nerve, their responsiveness to intermittent high frequency stimulation and whether functionality of the nerve-bladder connection became compromised. Main results Implantation of cuff electrodes was well-tolerated. The normal diurnal pattern of urinary voiding was not disrupted. Pelvic nerve stimulation (up to 4mA, 3kHz) for 30min periods evoked mild alerting at stimulus onset but no signs of pain. Stimulation evoked a modest (<0.5oC) increase in nerve temperature but the functional integrity of the nerve-bladder connection, reflected by contraction of the detrusor muscle in response to 10Hz nerve stimulation, was not compromised. Significance Chronic implantation of cuff electrodes on the pelvic nerve was found to be a well-tolerated procedure in rats and high frequency stimulation did not lead to loss of nerve functionality. Pelvic nerve stimulation has development potential for normalizing voiding dysfunction in conscious rats.
Original languageEnglish
Article number024001
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Volume15
Issue number2
Early online date1 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

Keywords

  • rat
  • pelvic nerve
  • cuff electrodes
  • electrical stimulation
  • nerve integrity

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