Complex impedance spectroscopy for monitoring tissue responses to inserted neural implants

J Neural Eng. 2007 Dec;4(4):410-23. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/4/4/007. Epub 2007 Nov 27.


A series of animal experiments was conducted to characterize changes in the complex impedance of chronically implanted electrodes in neural tissue. Consistent trends in impedance changes were observed across all animals, characterized as a general increase in the measured impedance magnitude at 1 kHz. Impedance changes reach a peak approximately 7 days post-implant. Reactive responses around individual electrodes were described using immuno- and histo-chemistry and confocal microscopy. These observations were compared to measured impedance changes. Several features of impedance changes were able to differentiate between confined and extensive histological reactions. In general, impedance magnitude at 1 kHz was significantly increased in extensive reactions, starting about 4 days post-implant. Electrodes with extensive reactions also displayed impedance spectra with a characteristic change at high frequencies. This change was manifested in the formation of a semi-circular arc in the Nyquist space, suggestive of increased cellular density in close proximity to the electrode site. These results suggest that changes in impedance spectra are directly influenced by cellular distributions around implanted electrodes over time and that impedance measurements may provide an online assessment of cellular reactions to implanted devices.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / surgery
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Plethysmography, Impedance / methods*
  • Rats
  • Spectrum Analysis / methods*