A fully implanted drug delivery system for peripheral nerve blocks in behaving animals

Eric A. Pohlmeyer, Luke R. Jordon, Peter Kim, Lee E. Miller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Inhibiting peripheral nerve function can be useful for many studies of the nervous system or motor control. Accomplishing this in a temporary fashion in animal models by using peripheral nerve blocks permits studies of the immediate effects of the loss, and/or any resulting short-term changes and adaptations in behavior or motor control, while avoiding the complications commonly associated with permanent lesions, such as sores or self-mutilation. We have developed a method of quickly and repeatedly inducing temporary, controlled motor deficits in rhesus macaque monkeys via a chronically implanted drug delivery system. This assembly consists of a nerve cuff and a subdermal injection dome, and has proved effective for delivering local anesthetics directly to peripheral nerves for many months. Using this assembly for median and ulnar nerve blocks routinely resulted in over 80% losses in hand and wrist strength for rhesus monkeys. The assembly was also effective for inducing ambulatory motor deficits in rabbits through blocks of the sciatic nerve. Interestingly, while standard anesthetics were sufficient for the rabbit nerve blocks, the inclusion of epinephrine was essential for achieving significant motor blockade in the monkeys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-171
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 15 2009


  • Lidocaine
  • Limb movement
  • Nerve cuff
  • Paralysis
  • Peripheral nerve block
  • Rhesus macaque

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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