Visualization of axonal and volume currents in median nerve compound action potential using magnetoneurography

Clin Neurophysiol. 2023 Aug:152:57-67. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2023.05.006. Epub 2023 May 25.


Objective: Reconstruct compound median nerve action currents using magnetoneurography to clarify the physiological characteristics of axonal and volume currents and their relationship to potentials.

Methods: The median nerves of both upper arms of five healthy individuals were investigated. The propagating magnetic field of the action potential was recorded using magnetoneurography, reconstructed into a current, and analyzed. The currents were compared with the potentials recorded from multipolar surface electrodes.

Results: Reconstructed currents could be clearly visualized. Axonal currents flowed forward or backward in the axon, arcing away from the depolarization zone, turning about the subcutaneous volume conductor, and returning to the depolarization zone. The zero-crossing latency of the axonal current was approximately the same as the peak of its volume current and the negative peak of the surface electrode potential. Volume current waveforms were proportional to the derivative of axonal ones.

Conclusions: Magnetoneurography allows the visualization and quantitative evaluation of action currents. The currents in axons and in volume conductors could be clearly discriminated with good quality. Their properties were consistent with previous neurophysiological findings.

Significance: Magnetoneurography could be a novel tool for elucidating nerve physiology and pathophysiology.

Keywords: Action potential; Axonal current; Magnetoneurography; Peripheral nerve; Reconstructed current; Volume current.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Axons* / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Fields
  • Median Nerve* / physiology