C7 nerve root sensory distribution in peripheral nerves: A bold functional magnetic resonance imaging investigation at 9.4 T



Introduction: In this study we used a rat model to elucidate the linear make-up of each major nerve of the upper limb by the C7 root through sensory stimulation and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Methods: The C7 nerve root and major nerves of the right forelimb were stimulated electrically. Blood oxygen level–dependent functional magnetic resonance imaging (BOLD fMRI) was performed concurrently. Voxel overlap within the primary sensory cortex was calculated. Results: C7 comprised sensation in <1% in the musculocutaneous nerve, 6% in the ulnar nerve, 16% in the radial nerve, and 19% in the median nerve (P < 0.005 for each). The overlap was always <25% for each major nerve. Conclusions: This study helps explain why C7 is a suitable donor for brachial plexus injury treatment and why there is only a transient sensory deficit after transfer. Muscle Nerve 49: 40–46, 2014