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Collection: Anatomy and Histology of the Domestic Pig in the Context of Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Study purpose: Evaluation of vagal anatomy in the domestic pig, whose vagus nerve organization and size approximates the human cervical vagus nerve providing Masson’s Trichrome-stained cross sections. Data collection: Histological analysis of fascile organization and diameter of porcine vagus nerve post-mortem microdissection (trace location of fascicle leading to recurrent laryngeal branch) and histology (nerve cross section) from pigs that underwent complete electrophysiological experiment. Each subject consistently had sections taken at the nodose ganglion, under the vagus nerve stimulation cuff, and at the level of the recurrent laryngeal bifurcation (3 locations). Primary conclusion: We discovered that cell bodies of pseudo-unipolar cells aggregate together to form a very distinct grouping within the nodose ganglion. This distinct grouping gives rise to a larger number of smaller fascicles as one moves caudally down the cervical vagus nerve. This often leads to a distinct bimodal organization or ‘vagotopy’ that may be advantageous to exploit in the design of electrodes/stimulation paradigms.
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