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Multielectrode nerve cuff stimulation of the median nerve produces selective movements in a raccoon animal model.

  • Walter, J S
  • Griffith, P
  • Sweeney, J
  • Scarpine, V
  • Bidnar, M
  • McLane, J
  • Robinson, C
Published Article
The journal of spinal cord medicine
Publication Date
Apr 01, 1997
PMID: 9144615


In this study, an electrode system consisting of twelve small platinum dot electrodes imbedded in a spiral silicone rubber insulating cuff was used to investigate the feasibility of selective (regional) stimulation of the median nerves of the raccoon. Acute experiments in four raccoons consisted of functional responses observations, isometric force recordings from tendon attachments and postmortem fascicular mapping. Functional responses (elbow, wrist and/or digit flexion, pronation and/or thumb abduction) to selective stimulation were noted as dependent upon cuff electrode configuration (longitudinal tripole with and without field steering, as well as a transverse bipolar arrangement) and current level (threshold, 1/2 maximal, maximal). Muscle force recruitment curves (force as a function of stimulus amplitude) were plotted for flexor digitorum superficialis, flexor digitorum profundus, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus and pronator teres of three raccoons. Fascicular maps at the level of the nerve cuff were created indicating the approximate position of innervation to each of the aforementioned muscles, as well as other innervation such as paw fascicles, sensory fascicles, and elbow innervation (such as coracobrachialis). The greatest selectivity was observed at or near threshold current levels. In all four raccoons studied, a threshold electrode choice and stimulation strategy could be identified enabling selective production of either digit flexion, wrist flexion and/or digit and wrist flexion. It was possible to elicit a selective pronation response at threshold in three of the four animals. Selective elbow flexion at threshold could be produced in all four experiments. With stronger currents, additional movements were usually induced. The raccoon therefore appears to be a suitable, if challenging, animal model for further development of not only nerve cuff electrode approaches but perhaps other stimulation electrode technologies prior to human neuroprosthetic studies.

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