In vitro magnetic stimulation of pig phrenic nerve with transverse and longitudinal induced electric fields: analysis of the stimulation site

IEEE Trans Biomed Eng. 2009 Feb;56(2):500-12. doi: 10.1109/TBME.2008.2009929. Epub 2008 Dec 2.


The induced electric field transverse to peripheral nerve trunks has been shown to lead to stimulation, contrary to predictions of the cable equation. Two possible mechanisms of activation have been documented in literature: the change in the transmembrane voltage due to an electric field transverse to the membrane of a cylindrical fiber and the transverse field projection on the undulating fiber path within the fascicle. To distinguish between these alternatives, an analysis of the stimulation site was performed in vitro along 15 phrenic nerves from pigs, with a 5-cm-diameter round coil. Stimulation with induced electric field having longitudinal and attenuated transverse components resulted in stimulation sites in the vicinity of the negative peak of the spatial derivative of the longitudinal electric field and threshold variations with coil positions along the nerve trunk. Stimulation with a transverse field yielded patterns of one, two, or three stimulation sites, scattered or uniformly distributed around the location of the two field maxima. A nerve structure analysis outlined the fiber undulation within the fascicle and a network of wavy fascicles. The presence of this network and the variations of the stimulation site, and of the threshold suggest that the path of the fiber has a major undulation due to the undulation of the fascicles within the nerve trunk, which may be responsible for the stimulation with an electric field transverse to the nerve trunk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Phrenic Nerve / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Swine