Bi-Directional Stretch to Assess Colorectal Afferent Activity
At the University of Connecticut, a group of researchers have been studying how the peripheral nervous system encodes and processes sensory information with particular interest in sensory afferent relays of pain. Because the group assessed stretch-activated afferent in smooth muscle, particularly the colon, they needed a way to simultaneously stretch the tissue while doing electrophysiological recordings of afferent activity in models of chronic pain.
Prior experience with our 300C Dual-Mode Lever system had led this group to produce several papers looking at stretch-activated afferent activity, but they now needed a way to bi-directionally stretch smooth muscle tissue to get a more complete picture of how colorectal afferent activity is modulated in chronic pain models. Aurora Scientific consulted with the UConn group about their needs and determined that our 300D 2-channel Dual-Mode muscle lever would be an ideal solution. The 300D has the unique ability to control and measure length and force in a reliable and precise fashion in two different directions using two motors in unison. This was crucial as the researchers needed to lengthen the muscle repeatedly in opposite directions while recording afferent activity.
The Dual-Mode lever allowed this group of researchers to perform reliable and reproducible bi-directional stretching of colorectal tissue while recording sensory afferent firing properties in models of chronic pain. Using an intact nerve-muscle preparation of a dissected colorectum and pelvic nerve, they can study how various mechanical perturbations such as probing, stroking or in the case of our 300D Dual-Mode, stretching, can affect sensory afferent activity. Because of the capabilities provided to them with the 300D, the lab has been able to expand their capabilities to better model true, real life afferent activity in response to smooth muscle stretching. Integrating this information with other techniques in the lab such as optogenetics, molecular biology and MEMS, the group can gain insight into neuromodulators that could be employed to reduce chronic pain by targeting the peripheral nervous system.