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Journal of Biomedical Optics

Fast optical signals in the peripheral nervous system
Author(s): Yunjie Tong; Jeffrey M. Martin; Angelo Sassaroli; Patricia R. Clervil; Peter R. Bergethon; Sergio Fantini
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Paper Abstract

We present a study of the near-infrared optical response to electrical stimulation of peripheral nerves. The sural nerve of six healthy subjects between the ages of 22 and 41 was stimulated with transcutaneous electrical pulses in a region located approximately 10 cm above the ankle. A two-wavelength (690 and 830 nm) tissue spectrometer was used to probe the same sural nerve below the ankle. We measured optical changes that peaked 60 to 160 ms after the electrical stimulus. On the basis of the strong wavelength dependence of these fast optical signals, we argue that their origin is mostly from absorption rather than scattering. From these absorption changes, we obtain oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin concentration changes that describe a rapid hemodynamic response to electrical nerve activation. In five out of six subjects, this hemodynamic response is an increase in total (oxy+deoxy) hemoglobin concentration, consistent with a fast vasodilation. Our findings support the hypothesis that the peripheral nervous system undergoes neurovascular coupling, even though more data is needed to prove such hypothesis.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 July 2006
PDF: 5 pages
J. Biomed. Opt. 11(4) 044014 doi: 10.1117/1.2234319
Published in: Journal of Biomedical Optics Volume 11, Issue 4
Show Author Affiliations
Yunjie Tong, Tufts Univ. (United States)
Jeffrey M. Martin, Tufts Univ. (United States)
Angelo Sassaroli, Tufts Univ. (United States)
Patricia R. Clervil, Tufts New England Medical Ctr. (United States)
Peter R. Bergethon, Boston Univ. (United States)
Sergio Fantini, Tufts Univ. (United States)


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