Chronic intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) of cat sensory cortex using the Utah Intracortical Electrode Array

IEEE Trans Rehabil Eng. 1999 Mar;7(1):56-68. doi: 10.1109/86.750552.


In an effort to assess the safety and efficacy of focal intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) of cerebral cortex with an array of penetrating electrodes as might be applied to a neuroprosthetic device to aid the deaf or blind, we have chronically implanted three trained cats in primary auditory cortex with the 100-electrode Utah Intracortical Electrode Array (UIEA). Eleven of the 100 electrodes were hard-wired to a percutaneous connector for chronic access. Prior to implant, cats were trained to "lever-press" in response to pure tone auditory stimulation. After implant, this behavior was transferred to "lever-presses" in response to current injections via single electrodes of the implanted arrays. Psychometric function curves relating injected charge level to the probability of response were obtained for stimulation of 22 separate electrodes in the three implanted cats. The average threshold charge/phase required for electrical stimulus detection in each cat was, 8.5, 8.6, and 11.6 nC/phase respectively, with a maximum charge/phase of 26 nC/phase and a minimum of 1.5 nC/phase thresholds were tracked for varying time intervals, and seven electrodes from two cats were tracked for up to 100 days. Electrodes were stimulated for no more than a few minutes each day. Neural recordings taken from the same electrodes before and after multiple electrical stimulation sessions were very similar in signal/noise ratio and in the number of recordable units, suggesting that the range of electrical stimulation levels used did not damage neurons in the vicinity of the electrodes. Although a few early implants failed, we conclude that ICMS of cerebral cortex to evoke a behavioral response can be achieved with the penetrating UIEA. Further experiments in support of a sensory cortical prosthesis based on ICMS are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Audiometry
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Cats
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Operant
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Equipment Design
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory
  • Implants, Experimental
  • Microelectrodes
  • Monitoring, Physiologic