Experimental

European Radiology

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 375-380

First online:

The delayed effects of irreversible electroporation ablation on nerves

  • Helmut SchoellnastAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterDepartment of Radiology, Medical University of Graz
  • , Sebastien MonetteAffiliated withLaboratory of Comparative Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, and the Rockefeller University
  • , Paula C. EzellAffiliated withResearch Animal Resource Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical College
  • , Majid MaybodyAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • , Joseph P. ErinjeriAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • , Michael D. StubblefieldAffiliated withDepartment of Neurology, Rehabilitation Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • , Gordon SingleAffiliated withAngioDynamics Inc
  • , Stephen B. SolomonAffiliated withDepartment of Radiology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Email author 

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the delayed effects of irreversible electroporation (IRE) ablation on nerves.

Methods

The study was approved by the institutional animal care and use committee. CT-guided IRE-ablation (electric field per distance, 1,500 V/cm; pulse length, 70 μs; number of pulses, 90) of 6 sciatic nerves was performed in 6 pigs that were euthanized 2 months after ablation. The sciatic nerves were harvested immediately after euthanasia for histopathological evaluation. Sections from selected specimens were stained with haematoxylin and eosin (H&E), Masson’s trichrome (MT) method for collagen, and immunohistochemistry was performed for S100 and neurofilaments (markers for Schwann cells and axons, respectively).

Results

All nerves showed a preserved endoneural architecture and presence of numerous small calibre axons associated with Schwann cell hyperplasia, consistent with axonal regeneration. A fibrous scar was observed in the adjacent muscle tissue, confirming ablation at the site examined.

Conclusion

After IRE-ablation of nerves, the preservation of the architecture of the endoneurium and the proliferation of Schwann cells may enable axonal regeneration as demonstrated after 2 months in this study.

Key Points

Irreversible electroporation (IRE) offers promise for non-thermal tumour ablation.

Preservation of endoneural architecture and proliferation of Schwann cells follow IRE-ablation.

Preservation of architecture and proliferation of Schwann cells may enable axonal regeneration.

Despite morphological regeneration, nerve function remains variable after 2 months.

Keywords

Athermal ablation Irreversible electroporation Sciatic nerve CT-guidance Animal study