Consistency of unitary shapes in dual lead recordings from myelinated fibres in human peripheral nerves: Evidence for extracellular single unit recordings in microneurography

Gang Wu, Rolf Ekedahl, Rolf G. Hallin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Percutaneous microneurography is a powerful technique allowing studies of activity in single nerve fibres of conscious humans. However, the mechanisms by which single-unit recordings are achieved with this technique are not fully understood. To further elucidate these mechanisms, dual-lead recordings, using a modified concentric needle electrode with two separate recording surfaces at the tip, were performed in normal subjects. Sixty-two single units supplied by large myelinated afferents were studied. The majority (90%) of the units were recorded simultaneously on both surfaces but with different action potential amplitudes. Four types of unitary waveforms were encountered. The potentials recorded on the two channels were of the same type, although occasionally some details differed. Parallel waveform changes of the same units occurred simultaneously on the two surfaces. A displacement of a single fibre from one recording surface to the other with or without concomitant waveform-type transitions was observed when the electrode was slightly repositioned intraneurally. The results provided direct evidence to confirm that concentric needle electrodes record single-unit activity extracellularly from myelinated nerve fibres, probably at or close to a node of Ranvier. All the types of action potentials encountered with conventional tungsten electrodes were also identified in dual-channel recordings with concentric electrodes, which casts doubt on the previous explanation that single-unit activity recorded with tungsten electrodes is derived from intracellular sources. Some biological and technical aspects of the findings are discussed, especially concerning the applicability of in vivo measurements of the time course of the action potentials in humans and ways to improve microneurography towards multichannel recordings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-478
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume120
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Action potential shape
  • Human peripheral nerve
  • Microneurography
  • Multichannel recording
  • Two-surface-electrode

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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