NEPTUN - Neuromodulation of the intestine

Microimplants for regulated stimulation of visceral nerves

In the Neptun project, microimplants are being developed at the NMI for contacting nerve tissue in the abdominal cavity in order to realize controlled neurostimulation of the gastrointestinal tract. The aim is to develop an innovative approach to the treatment of constipation, for which no adequate treatment option exists in some cases.


Surgical procedures and damage to the gastrointestinal tract can result in reduced bowel function and chronic constipation. In part, this may be due to injury to the nerve tissue in the abdomen during surgery; in part, the reasons are not yet known. Intraoperative neuromonitoring is used to ensure that nerves are spared during surgical procedures in the immediate vicinity of neural structures. In the Neptun project, methods are being researched to make this method available for operations in the abdominal cavity, especially intestinal anastomoses.

Neuromodulation is a method of stimulating nerves that indirectly influences physiological processes. To date, it has been used, among other things, to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and for pain therapy. In many applications, a stimulation pattern is programmed for this purpose and used permanently. The next step is an adaptive modulation that adjusts to the current situation. In the Neptune project, regulated visceral neuromodulation with microelectrode arrays is being researched for bioelectronic therapy of disturbed intestinal function.

The NMI is mainly responsible for the investigation of optimized micro-nerve interfaces and signal evaluation of neuronal measurements.

01.11.2018 - 31.10.2021


Dr. Peter D. Jones

Group Leader Biomedical Micro and Nano Engineering