European Radiology

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 375–380

The delayed effects of irreversible electroporation ablation on nerves

  • Helmut Schoellnast
  • Sebastien Monette
  • Paula C. Ezell
  • Majid Maybody
  • Joseph P. Erinjeri
  • Michael D. Stubblefield
  • Gordon Single
  • Stephen B. Solomon



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


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).


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.


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.


Athermal ablation Irreversible electroporation Sciatic nerve CT-guidance Animal study 


  1. 1.
    Lee EW, Chen C, Prieto VE, Dry SM, Loh CT, Kee ST (2010) Advanced hepatic ablation technique for creating complete cell death: irreversible electroporation. Radiology 255:426–433PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rubinsky B, Onik G, Mikus P (2007) Irreversible electroporation: a new ablation modality–clinical implications. Technol Cancer Res Treat 6:37–48PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Deodhar A, Monette S, Single WG Jr et al (2011) Renal tissue ablation with irreversible electroporation: preliminary results in a porcine model. Urology 77:754–760PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Schoellnast H, Monette S, Ezell PC et al (2011) Acute and subacute effects of irreversible electroporation on nerves: experimental study in a pig model. Radiology 260:421–427PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Geuna S, Raimondo S, Ronchi G et al (2009) Chapter 3: histology of the peripheral nerve and changes occurring during nerve regeneration. Int Rev Neurobiol 87:27–46Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Li W, Fan Q, Ji Z, Qiu X, Li Z (2011) The effects of irreversible electroporation (IRE) on nerves. PLoS One 6:e18831PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Arena CB, Sano MB, Rossmeisl JH Jr et al (2011) High-frequency irreversible electroporation (H-FIRE) for non-thermal ablation without muscle contraction. Biomed Eng Online 10:102PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helmut Schoellnast
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sebastien Monette
    • 3
  • Paula C. Ezell
    • 4
  • Majid Maybody
    • 1
  • Joseph P. Erinjeri
    • 1
  • Michael D. Stubblefield
    • 5
  • Gordon Single
    • 6
  • Stephen B. Solomon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of RadiologyMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyMedical University of GrazGrazAustria
  3. 3.Laboratory of Comparative PathologyMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, and the Rockefeller UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Research Animal Resource CenterMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Weill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Neurology, Rehabilitation Medicine ServiceMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.AngioDynamics IncQueensburyUSA

Personalised recommendations