Effects of Q-switched Nd:YAG laser irradiation on neural impulse propagation: I. Spinal cord.

U. Wesselmann*, S. F. Lin, W. Z. Rymer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We studied the effect of irradiation with Q-switched Nd:YAG laser light (1064 nm) on spinal cord dorsal column and dorsolateral white matter in anesthetized rats. To evoke a synchronous sensory input, the sciatic nerve was stimulated electrically and the resulting evoked spinal cord potential (SCP) recorded from the dorsal columns of the ipsilateral side. The waveshape of the SCP showed three components: an early positive peak (P1), representing the responses of the most rapidly conducting fibers, followed by two negative peaks (N1 and N2), which are mainly due to synaptic effects of the volley on dorsal horn cells located in dorsal grey matter. Laser irradiation at 50 mJ/pulse and above resulted in severe reduction in the amplitudes of N1 and N2. In contrast, there was either no reduction at all or only a slight decrease in the amplitude of P1. The selective loss of the synaptic field might be mediated by impairment of synaptic transmission or by loss of high threshold fiber input to dorsal horn neurones. In either event it is likely that the mechanism of the differential effects of laser irradiation on the components of the electrically evoked SCP is at least in part photothermally mediated, since intracord temperatures during laser application greatly exceeded the physiological range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-80
Number of pages14
JournalPhysiological chemistry and physics and medical NMR
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Spectroscopy


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