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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Nov 2020 - 27 Nov 2020

Animal Studies

2020 Nov 23

Sci Rep



Time-dynamic pulse modulation of spinal cord stimulation reduces mechanical hypersensitivity and spontaneous pain in rats.


Edhi MM, Heijmans L, Vanent KN, Bloye K, Baanante A, Jeong K-S, Leung J, Zhu C, Esteller R, Saab CY
Sci Rep. 2020 Nov 23; 10(1):20358.
PMID: 33230202.


Enhancing the efficacy of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is needed to alleviate the burden of chronic pain and dependence on opioids. Present SCS therapies are characterized by the delivery of constant stimulation in the form of trains of tonic pulses (TPs). We tested the hypothesis that modulated SCS using novel time-dynamic pulses (TDPs) leads to improved analgesia and compared the effects of SCS using conventional TPs and a collection of TDPs in a rat model of neuropathic pain according to a longitudinal, double-blind, and crossover design. We tested the effects of the following SCS patterns on paw withdrawal threshold and resting state EEG theta power as a biomarker of spontaneous pain: Tonic (conventional), amplitude modulation, pulse width modulation, sinusoidal rate modulation, and stochastic rate modulation. Results demonstrated that under the parameter settings tested in this study, all tested patterns except pulse width modulation, significantly reversed mechanical hypersensitivity, with stochastic rate modulation achieving the highest efficacy, followed by the sinusoidal rate modulation. The anti-nociceptive effects of sinusoidal rate modulation on EEG outlasted SCS duration on the behavioral and EEG levels. These results suggest that TDP modulation may improve clinical outcomes by reducing pain intensity and possibly improving the sensory experience.