A multi-channel telemetry system for brain microstimulation in freely roaming animals

J Neurosci Methods. 2004 Feb 15;133(1-2):57-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2003.09.012.


A system is described that enables an experimenter to remotely deliver electrical pulse train stimuli to multiple different locations in the brains of freely moving rats. The system consists of two separate components: a transmitter base station that is controlled by a PC operator, and a receiver-microprocessor integrated pack worn on the back of the animals and which connects to suitably implanted brain locations. The backpack is small and light so that small animal subjects can easily carry it. Under remote command from the PC the backpack can be configured to provide biphasic pulse trains of arbitrarily specified parameters. A feature of the system is that it generates precise brain-stimulation behavioral effects using the direct constant-voltage TTL output of the backpack microprocessor. The system performs with high fidelity even in complex environments over a distance of about 300 m. Rat self-stimulation tests showed that this system produced the same behavioral responses as a conventional constant-current stimulator. This system enables a variety of multi-channel brain stimulation experiments in freely moving animals. We have employed it to develop a new animal behavior model ("virtual" conditioning) for the neurophysiological study of spatial learning, in which a rat can be accurately guided to navigate various terrains.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / radiation effects
  • Computers / supply & distribution
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Electrophysiology / instrumentation*
  • Equipment Design
  • Microcomputers
  • Microelectrodes
  • Rats
  • Self Stimulation / physiology
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Telemetry / instrumentation
  • Telemetry / methods*
  • Time Factors