Deep nerve stimulation found to reduce blood pressure

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A new study expands upon research that explored how wireless electrodes treat hypertension and found that blood pressure and renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) are controlled by bioelectronic treatment.

The research, published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, expanded on a previous study conducted by Mario Romero-Ortega, PhD, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Houston in Texas. In that study, he reported that deep peroneal nerve stimulation (DPNS) elicited acute cardiovascular depressor responses in anesthetized spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs).

His current study takes that discovery further and focused on the development of a small implantable wireless neural stimulation system and exploration of different stimulation parameters to achieve a maximum lowered response. The study’s results indicated that DPNS consistently induces a reduction in blood pressure and suggested that renal sympathetic nerve activity (RSNA) is altered by this bioelectronic treatment.

According to the study, Romero-Ortega integrated a sub-millimeter nerve stimulation circuit with a novel nerve attachment microchannel electrode that facilitates implantation into small nerves and allows external power and DPNS modulation control. Using this implantable device, his team demonstrated that systolic blood pressure can be lowered by 10 percent in one hour and 16 percent two hours after nerve stimulation. 

“Our results indicate that DPNS consistently induces an immediate and reproducible arterial depressor effect in response to electrical stimulation of the deep peroneal nerve,” said Romero-Ortega in a statement. “In this study, DPNS induced an initial increase in RSNA during the first two to three seconds, followed by a reduction in renal activity and mean arterial pressure, despite the increase in heart rate. The observed activation of the RSNA during the DPNS was not expected since its activity is associated with hypertension,” he added.