Novel MEA platform with PDMS microtunnels enables the detection of action potential propagation from isolated axons in culture

Lab Chip. 2009 Feb 7;9(3):404-10. doi: 10.1039/b806689b. Epub 2008 Nov 18.


This study investigated a novel multi-electrode-array (MEA) design capable of long-term and highly selective recordings of axonal signals using PDMS microtunnels. We successfully grew neurons in culture so that only axons extended through narrow (10 microm wide by 3 microm high) and long (750 microm) microtunnels under which multiple electrodes were integrated. This permitted the recording of relatively large (up to 200 microV) electrical signals, including the propagation speed and direction of these travelling action potentials. To further demonstrate the operation of the device as a diagnostic tool for drug screening assays, the drug mepivacaine was applied in washout experiments. Here, we identified significant changes in mean spiking rate and conduction velocity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials* / drug effects
  • Anesthetics, Local / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes / chemistry*
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electrodes
  • Equipment Design
  • Mepivacaine / pharmacology
  • Microtechnology / instrumentation*
  • Microtechnology / methods
  • Neural Conduction* / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Tissue Array Analysis / instrumentation*
  • Tissue Array Analysis / methods


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes
  • baysilon
  • Mepivacaine