J Clin Neurophysiol. 2003 Jul-Aug;20(4):283-90
Gobbele R, Waberski TD, Dieckhofer A, Kawohl W, Klostermann F, Curio G, Buchner H.
Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Aachen, Germany; and Department of Neurology, Klinikum Benjamin Franklin, Berlin, Germany.
In human median nerve somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEPs), high frequency (600 Hz) oscillations (HFOs) are superimposed onto the low frequency SSEP component N20.
High frequency oscillations are generated both in deep axon segments of thalamo-cortical projection neurons and at the primary somatosensory cortex.
The present study aimed to test the hypothesis that HFOs might be more sensitive to temporal dispersion caused by demyelinating lesions in multiple sclerosis (MS) than the N20.
The authors recorded HFOs in median nerve SSEPs in 50 patients with definite MS and in 30 healthy controls.
Three patterns of SSEP alterations were found: (1) abolished HFOs with either normal (11% of stimulated limbs), or delayed N20 (16% of stimulated limbs); (2) an attenuation of N20 amplitude with preserved HFOs (13%); and (3) a mixture of both patterns (21%).
The first pattern-normal N20 with abolished HFOs-indicates that the HFOs are a sensitive marker of slight demyelination.
The second pattern is suggestive of a mainly axonal lesion type, while the third pattern points to a combined axonal/demyelinating process or a conduction block.
Analysis of HFOs allows identification of slight demyelinating processes in MS patients in whom the N20 SSEP component remains unaffected.
The HFOs provide a tool to distinguish different patterns of disturbed impulse propagation.