Influence of variable nerve fibre geometry on the excitation and blocking threshold. A simulation study

Vučković, A., Struijk, J. J. and Rijkhoff, N. J. M. (2005) Influence of variable nerve fibre geometry on the excitation and blocking threshold. A simulation study. Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing, 43(3), pp. 365-374. (doi: 10.1007/BF02345814)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02345814

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate how variable fibre geometry influences the excitation and blocking threshold of an undulating peripheral nerve fibre. The sensitivity of the excitation and blocking thresholds of the nerve fibres to various geometric and stimulation parameters was examined. The nerve fibres had a spiral shape (defined by the undulation wavelength, undulation amplitude and phase), and the internodal length varied. Diameter-selective stimulation of nerve fibres was obtained using anodal block. Simulation was performed using a two-part simulation model: a volume conductor model to calculate the electrical potential distribution inside a tripolar cuff electrode and a model of a peripheral undulating human nerve fibre to simulate the fibre response to stimulation. The excitation threshold of the undulating fibres was up to 100% higher than the excitation threshold of the straight fibres. When a nerve was stimulated with long pulses, which are typically applied for anodal block (>400μs), the blocking threshold of the undulating fibres was up to four times higher than the blocking threshold of the straight fibres. Dependencies of the excitation threshold on geometric and stimulation parameters were the same as for a straight fibre. Dependencies of the blocking threshold on geometric and stimulation parameters were different compared with a straight fibre. Owing to the fibre undulation and variable internodal length, the blocking threshold and the minimum pulse duration to obtain anodal block were generally different in the proximal and distal directions. Owing to variable fibre geometry, the excitation threshold varied by up to ±40% of the mean value, and the blocking threshold varied by up to ±60% of the mean value. Owing to undulation, the blocking threshold of large fibres could be higher than the blocking threshold of small-diameter fibres, even if they had the same geometry. The results indicate that, during skeletal muscle stretching and contracting or during variation in joint angle, the excitation and blocking thresholds of the nerve fibres change owing to variations in fibre geometry. A straight fibre model could be too simple for modelling the response of peripheral nerve fibres to electrical stimulation.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Vuckovic, Dr Aleksandra
Authors: Vučković, A., Struijk, J. J., and Rijkhoff, N. J. M.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Publisher:Springer Verlag
ISSN:0140-0118
ISSN (Online):1741-0444

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