Journal article

A Computational Model for the Stimulation of Rat Sciatic Nerve Using a Transverse Intrafascicular Multichannel Electrode

Neuroprostheses based on electrical stimulation could potentially help disabled persons. They are based on neural interface that aim at creating an intimate contact with neural cells. The efficacy of neuroprostheses can be improved by increasing the selectivity of the neural interfaces used to stimulate specific subsets of cells. Selectivity is strongly influenced by interface design. Computer models can be useful for exploring the high dimensional space of design parameters with the aim to provide guidelines for the development of more efficient electrodes, with minimal animal use and optimization of manufacturing processes. The purpose of this study was to implement a realistic model of the performance of a transverse intrafascicular multichannel electrode (TIME) implanted into the rat sciatic nerve. A realistic finite element method (FEM) model was developed taking into account the anatomical and physiological features of the rat sciatic nerve. Electric potentials were calculated and interpolated voltages were applied to the model of a rat sciatic nerve axon, based on experimental biophysical data. Results indicate that high intra-fascicular and inter-fascicular selectivity values with low current levels can be achieved with TIMEs. The selectivity of TIMEs was also compared to an extraneural electrode, showing that higher selectivity with less current can be obtained. Using this model, the robustness of electrode performances for translational and rotational displacements were evaluated.


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