Creating viable electric interfaces for delicate nerve structures is a real challenge – especially if they are to enable communication with particularly small nerves which are only as thick as a human hair.
In an attempt to find the best technical and least costly option the authors of a recently pre-published study compared the performance of different cuff technologies. The team at the Feinstein Institute, New York, used two commercially available electrode types – one of them the Sling Cuff electrode from CorTec – and a handmade alternative based on microwires.
As part of the systematic comparison, Falcone et al. implanted all three electrode types in the left cervical vagus nerves of anesthetized mice which at only about 100 micrometers is particularly thin. In the anesthetized state they recorded electrical potentials from the nerves for a minimum of 30 minutes.
With regard to their recording quality the Sling Cuffs from CorTec performed significantly better than all other alternatives from what showed the subsequent analysis of the signal-to-noise ratio. And this even though the signal sizes measured as peak-to-peak amplitude were comparable in all electrode types.
As the first systematic direct comparison of three completely different electrode technologies performed in the very same lab, this independent study offers deeper insights into the advantages and disadvantages of different solutions, especially in the smallest dimensions of nerve structures.
Read the Paper:
Jessica D. Falcone, Tristan Liu, Laura Goldman, David D. Pogue, Malgorzata Straka, Loren Rieth, Chad E. Bouton, Harbaljit S. Sohal:
A wrappable microwire electrode for awake, chronic interfacing with small diameter autonomic peripheral nerves
bioRxiv 402925; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/402925