Imaging fascicular organization of rat sciatic nerves with fast neural electrical impedance tomography

Ravagli, E and Mastitskaya, S and Thompson, N and Iacoviello, F and Shearing, P R and Perkins, J and Gourine, A V and Aristovich, K and Holder, D (2020) Imaging fascicular organization of rat sciatic nerves with fast neural electrical impedance tomography. Nature Communications, 11 (1). ISSN 2041-1723

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-20127-x

Abstract

Imaging compound action potentials (CAPs) in peripheral nerves could help avoid side effects in neuromodulation by selective stimulation of identified fascicles. Existing methods have low resolution, limited imaging depth, or are invasive. Fast neural electrical impedance tomography (EIT) allows fascicular CAP imaging with a resolution of <200 µm, <1 ms using a non-penetrating flexible nerve cuff electrode array. Here, we validate EIT imaging in rat sciatic nerve by comparison to micro-computed tomography (microCT) and histology with fluorescent dextran tracers. With EIT, there are reproducible localized changes in tissue impedance in response to stimulation of individual fascicles (tibial, peroneal and sural). The reconstructed EIT images correspond to microCT scans and histology, with significant separation between the fascicles (p < 0.01). The mean fascicle position is identified with an accuracy of 6% of nerve diameter. This suggests fast neural EIT can reliably image the functional fascicular anatomy of the nerves and so aid selective neuromodulation.

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