Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 397–410 | Cite as

An intrafascicular electrode for recording of action potentials in peripheral nerves

  • Mark S. Malagodi
  • Kenneth W. Horch
  • Andrew A. Schoenberg


We are developing a new type of bipolar recording electrode intended for implantation within individual fascicles of mammalian peripheral nerves. In the experiments reported here we used electrodes fabricated from 25 μm diameter Pt wire, 50 μm 90% Pt-10% Ir wire and 7 μm carbon fibers. The electrodes were implanted in the sciatic nerves of rats and in the ulnar nerves of cats. The signal-to-noise ratio of recorded activity induced by nonnoxious mechanical stimulation of the skin and joints was studied as a function of the type of electrode material used, the amount of insulation removed from the recording zone, and the longitudinal separation of the recording zones of bipolar electrode pairs. Both acute and short term (two day) chronic experiments were performed.

The results indicate that a bipolar electrode made from Teflon-insulated, 25 μm diameter, 90% Pt-10% Ir wire, having a 1–2 mm long recording zone, can be used for recording of peripheral nerve activity when implanted with one wire inside the fascicle and the other lead level with the first lead, but outside the fascicle. No insulating cuff needs to be placed around the nerve trunk.


Neuroprosthesis Peripheral nerve electrodes Sensory recording 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Clark, J.; Plonsey, R. The extracellular potential field of the single active nerve fiber in a volume conductor. Biophys. J. 8:842–864; 1968.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Clark, J.; Plonsey, R. A mathematical evaluation of the core conductor model. Biophys. J. 6:95–112; 1966.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    de Boer, R.W.; van Oosterom, A. Electrical properties of platinum electrodes: impedance measurements and time-domain analysis. Med. & Biol. Eng. & Comput. 16:1–10; 1978.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fitzhugh, R.. Computation of impulse initiation and saltatory conduction in a myelinated nerve fiber. Biophys. J. 2:11–21; 1962.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hambrecht, F.T. Neural prostheses. Ann. Rev. Biophys. Bioeng. 8:239–267; 1979.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hambrecht, F.T. Clinical application of neural prosthetic techniques. Appl. Neurophysiol. 45:10–17; 1982.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Holle, J.; Frey, M.; Gruber, H.; Stoehr, H.; Toma, H. Functional electrical stimulation of paraplegics. Experimental investigations and first clinical experience with an implantable stimulation device. Orthopedics 7:1146–1155; 1984.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Janssens, J.; VanTrappen, G.; Hellemans, J. A new technique for recording of single unit activity in small peripheral nerves. Brain Res. 166:397–430; 1979.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kao, C.C.; Wrathall, J.R.; Kyoshima, K. Rationales and goals of spinal cord reconstruction. In: Spinal Cord Reconstruction, Kao, C.C.; Bunge, R.P.; Reier, P. J., eds. New York: Raven Press; 1983; pp. 1–6.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Kralj, A.; Bajd, T.; Turk, R.; Krajnik, J.; Benko, H. Gait restoration in paraplegic patients: a feasibility demonstration using multichannel surface electrode FES. J. Rehab. Res. Dev. 20:3–20; 1983.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Loeb, G.E.; Bak, M.J.; Salkman, M.; Schmidt, E.M. Parylene as a chronically stable, reproducible microelectrode insulator. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. 24:121–128; 1977.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lubinska, L. Patterns of Wallerian degeneration of myelinated fibres in short and long peripheral stumps and in isolated segments of rat phrenic nerve. Interpretation of the role of axoplasmic flow of the trophic factor. Brain Res. 233:227–240; 1982.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Marks, W.B.; Loeb, G.E. Action currents, internodal potentials, and extracellular records of myelinated mammalian nerve fibers derived from node potentials. Biophys. J. 16:655–668; 1976.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Marsolais, E.B. Stages in the development of useful FNS-augmented walking. RESNA Proc. 9th Annl. Conf. Rehab. Techn. 9:279–281; 1986.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pattle, R.E. The external action potential of a nerve or muscle fiber in an extended medium. Physics Med. Biol. 16:673–685; 1971.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Peckham, P.H.; Mortimer, J.T.; Marsolais, E.B. Controlled prehension and release in the C5 quadriplegic elicited by functional electrical stimulation of the paralyzed forearm musculature. Ann. Biomed. Eng. 8:369–388; 1980.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Stein, R.B.; Charles, D.; Davis, L.; Jhamandas, J.; Mannard, A.; Nichols, T.R. Principles underlying new methods for chronic neural recording. Canad. J. Neurol. Sci. 2:235–244; 1975.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Stoehr, H.M.; Bochdansky, T.; Frey, M.; Holle, J.; Kern, H.; Schwanda, G.; Thoma, H. Functional electrostimulation makes paraplegic patients walk again. In: 1st Vienna International Workshop on Functional Electrostimulation. Vienna, Austria: Bioengineering Lab. Van Swieten-Gasse, Austria, 1983; p. 5.4.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Sunderland, S. Nerves and nerve injuries. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins; 1968.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Tasaki, I. A new measurement of action currents developed by single nodes of Ranvier. J. Neurophysiol. 27:1199–1206; 1964.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Weinman, J.; Mahler, J. An analysis of electrical properties of metal electrodes. Med. Electron. & Biol. Eng. 2:299–310; 1964.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Yonezawa, Y.; Ninomiya, I.; Nishiura, N. A printed implantable electrode for recording neural signals in awake animals. IEEE/Ninth Ann. Conf. Eng. Med. Biol. Soc. Ch2513:485–487; 1987.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Maxwell Pergamon Macmillan plc 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark S. Malagodi
    • 1
  • Kenneth W. Horch
    • 1
  • Andrew A. Schoenberg
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BioengineeringUniversity of UtahSalt Lake City

Personalised recommendations