Spatial and Functional Selectivity of Peripheral Nerve Signal Recording With the Transversal Intrafascicular Multichannel Electrode (TIME)
The selection of suitable peripheral nerve electrodes for biomedical applications implies a trade-off between invasiveness and selectivity. The optimal design should provide the highest selectivity for targeting a large number of nerve fascicles with the least invasiveness and potential damage to the nerve. The transverse intrafascicular multichannel electrode (TIME), transversally inserted in the peripheral nerve, has been shown to be useful for the selective activation of subsets of axons, both at inter-and intra-fascicular levels, in the small sciatic nerve of the rat. In this study we assessed the capabilities of TIME for the selective recording of neural activity, considering the topographical selectivity and the distinction of neural signals corresponding to different sensory types. Topographical recording selectivity was proved by the differential recording of CNAPs from different subsets of nerve fibers, such as those innervating toes 2 and 4 of the hindpaw of the rat. Neural signals elicited by sensory stimuli applied to the rat paw were successfully recorded. Signal processing allowed distinguishing three different types of sensory stimuli such as tactile, proprioceptive and nociceptive ones with high performance. These findings further support the suitability of TIMEs for neuroprosthetic applications, by exploiting the transversal topographical structure of the peripheral nerves.