Journal Article URL
High-frequency (HF) stimulation has been shown to block conduction in excitable cells including neurons and cardiac myocytes. However, the precise mechanisms underlying conduction block are unclear. Using a multi-scale method, the influence of HF stimulation is investigated in the simplified FitzhHugh-Nagumo and biophysically-detailed Hodgkin-Huxley models. In both models, HF stimulation alters the amplitude and frequency of repetitive firing in response to a constant applied current and increases the threshold to evoke a single action potential in response to a brief applied current pulse. Further, the excitable cells cannot evoke a single action potential or fire repetitively above critical values for the HF stimulation amplitude. Analytical expressions for the critical values and thresholds are determined in the FitzHugh-Nagumo model. In the Hodgkin-Huxley model, it is shown that HF stimulation alters the dynamics of ionic current gating, shifting the steady-state activation, inactivation, and time constant curves, suggesting several possible mechanisms for conduction block. Finally, we demonstrate that HF stimulation of a network of neurons reduces the electrical activity firing rate, increases network synchronization, and for a sufficiently large HF stimulation, leads to complete electrical quiescence. In this study, we demonstrate a novel approach to investigate HF stimulation in biophysically-detailed ionic models of excitable cells, demonstrate possible mechanisms for HF stimulation conduction block in neurons, and provide insight into the influence of HF stimulation on neural networks.
Weinberg, S. H. (2013). High-frequency stimulation of excitable cells and networks. PloS one, 8(11), e81402.