Bipolar spinal cord stimulation attenuates mechanical hypersensitivity at an intensity that activates a small portion of A-fiber afferents in spinal nerve-injured rats

F. Yang, A. F. Carteret, P. W. Wacnik, C. Y. Chung, L. Xing, X. Dong, R. A. Meyer, S. N. Raja, Y. Guan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is used clinically to treat neuropathic pain states, but the precise mechanism by which it attenuates neuropathic pain remains to be established. The profile of afferent fiber activation during SCS and how it may correlate with the efficacy of SCS-induced analgesia are unclear. After subjecting rats to an L5 spinal nerve ligation (SNL), we implanted a miniature quadripolar electrode similar to that used clinically. Our goal was to determine the population and number of afferent fibers retrogradely activated by SCS in SNL rats by recording the antidromic compound action potential (AP) at the sciatic nerve after examining the ability of bipolar epidural SCS to alleviate mechanical hypersensitivity in this model. Notably, we compared the profiles of afferent fiber activation to SCS between SNL rats that exhibited good SCS-induced analgesia (responders) and those that did not (nonresponders). Additionally, we examined how different contact configurations affect the motor threshold (MoT) and compound AP threshold. Results showed that three consecutive days of SCS treatment (50 Hz, 0.2 ms, 30 min, 80-90% of MoT), but not sham stimulation, gradually alleviated mechanical hypersensitivity in SNL rats. The MoT obtained in the animal behavioral study was significantly less than the Aα/β-threshold of the compound AP determined during electrophysiological recording, suggesting that SCS could attenuate mechanical hypersensitivity with a stimulus intensity that recruits only a small fraction of the A-fiber population in SNL rats. Although both the MoT and compound AP threshold were similar between responders and nonresponders, the size of the compound AP waveform at higher stimulation intensities was larger in the responders, indicating a more efficient activation of the dorsal column structure in responders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-480
Number of pages11
JournalNeuroscience
Volume199
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 29 2011

Keywords

  • Compound action potential
  • Motor threshold
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Spinal nerve injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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