Microneurography: Recording Nerve Traffic Via Intraneural Microelectrodes in Awake Human Subjects

Microneurography: Recording Nerve Traffic Via Intraneural Microelectrodes in Awake Human Subjects

View this on-demand webinar to learn microneurography techniques and research trends for the study of nerve stimuli and associated responses in human subjects.

While many neurophysiologists use invasive techniques to record from the brain or peripheral nerves in anaesthesed animals, such approaches have – of necessity – been rather limited in human subjects. However, 50 years ago the first direct recordings of nerve activity from peripheral nerves in awake human subjects were published. In Uppsala, Sweden, Karl–Erik Hagbarth and Åke Vallbo developed the technique of “microneurography”, in which an insulated tungsten microelectrode is inserted through the skin and into a muscle or cutaneous fascicle of a peripheral (or cranial) nerve. Their original aim was to understand the population behavior of muscle spindles during voluntary contractions, but they soon discovered that they could record from individual myelinated sensory axons supplying muscle or skin. Moreover, they confirmed that the same microelectrodes could record spontaneous and evoked activity generated by the unmyelinated sympathetic axons.

In this webinar sponsored by ADInstruments, Professor Vaughan Macefield, one of the world’s leading neurophysiologists in the field of microneurography, speaks about the current trends in this field, and specifically shares methodology, tips and best-practices that he uses in his lab to answer complex questions about physiological processes and associated stimuli. 

Key topics covered during this webinar included…

  • What is Microneurography and what sort of scientific questions can it answer?
  • What are the current trends in the field?
  • What equipment is needed to do this type of work?
  • Tips, tricks and best-practices for the Microneurography technique
  • Important data acquisition and analysis processes

Speaker Introduction: 0:00

History of Microneurography & Equipment Overview: 1:47

Background on Recording from Muscle Spindle Afferents: 10:20

Example: single-unit recording from a fast-adapting type I cutaneous afferent to forces applied to the finger pad: 15:42 

Studying Muscle Sympathetic Nerve Activity (MSNA): 18:40

Studying Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation (GSV): 23:33

Example: single-unit recordings from individual postganglionic sympathetic axons supplying muscle and skin: 25:58

Case Study: MSNA-coupled fMRI and SSNA-coupled fMRI: 29:05

Q&A Session: 36:10

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Vaughan Macefield, PhD

Professor of Physiology,
MBRU – Mohammed Bin Rashid University,
Professor of Integrative Physiology,
Western Sydney University

Vaughan specializes in recording from single nerve fibres via tungsten microelectrodes inserted into the peripheral nerves of awake human subjects, and is known internationally as a world expert in recording the firing properties of human sympathetic neurones in health and disease, and as a leading investigator in human sensorimotor control. He has active collaborations with many groups in Australia, Sweden and the USA and has attracted postdoctoral scientists from Sweden, Denmark, Canada and Australia. For over ten years Vaughan has been examining the changes in control of the autonomic nervous system following human spinal cord injury, extending his research into the study of pain and its effects on the autonomic and somatic nervous systems, using brain imaging techniques (fMRI) to study the processing of pain. Prof. Macefield was also a leading consultant regarding the development of the NeuroAmpEx extracellular amplifier, designed and manufactured by ADInstruments.