American Society for Peripheral Nerve

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Intrafascicular Recordings of the Vagus Nerve
Mark A. Mahan, MD
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Background: The vagus nerve contains the afferent and efferent fibers of the preganglionic parasympathetic fibers to diverse organ systems.

Objective: We sought to record and analyze the pattern of intrafascicular action potentials of the vagus nerve with a complex microarray.

Methods: [3] lambs delivered prematurely by Caesarean section were ventilated to produce chronic hyper-reactive airway disease. 100 micron pitch high density microelectrode arrays (Utah array) were impacted into the vagus nerve. Recordings were then obtained during methylcholine challenge assay.

Results: In the [3] lambs, action potentials were recorded during the methylcholine challenge. Bronchoconstriction was confirmed as elevated peak airway pressures and prolonged expiratory phase on pulmonary function tests. The pattern of action potentials were temporally correlated and spatially clustered on a cluster of electrodes within the array.

Conclusion: Intrafascicular recordings of autonomic nerves are possible. The pattern of firing suggest specific fiber localization within the nerve. Information on the physiologic state of organ systems may be gleaned from such detailed recordings of autonomic nerves.

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