Microelectronic system for high-resolution mapping of extracellular electric fields applied to brain slices

Biosens Bioelectron. 2009 Mar 15;24(7):2191-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bios.2008.11.028. Epub 2008 Dec 7.


There is an enduring quest for technologies that provide - temporally and spatially - highly resolved information on electric neuronal or cardiac activity in functional tissues or cell cultures. Here, we present a planar high-density, low-noise microelectrode system realized in microelectronics technology that features 11,011 microelectrodes (3,150 electrodes per mm(2)), 126 of which can be arbitrarily selected and can, via a reconfigurable routing scheme, be connected to on-chip recording and stimulation circuits. This device enables long-term extracellular electrical-activity recordings at subcellular spatial resolution and microsecond temporal resolution to capture the entire dynamics of the cellular electrical signals. To illustrate the device performance, extracellular potentials of Purkinje cells (PCs) in acute slices of the cerebellum have been analyzed. A detailed and comprehensive picture of the distribution and dynamics of action potentials (APs) in the somatic and dendritic regions of a single cell was obtained from the recordings by applying spike sorting and spike-triggered averaging methods to the collected data. An analysis of the measured local current densities revealed a reproducible sink/source pattern within a single cell during an AP. The experimental data substantiated compartmental models and can be used to extend those models to better understand extracellular single-cell potential patterns and their contributions to the population activity. The presented devices can be conveniently applied to a broad variety of biological preparations, i.e., neural or cardiac tissues, slices, or cell cultures can be grown or placed directly atop of the chips for fundamental mechanistic or pharmacological studies.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebellum / cytology*
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Electric Stimulation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems / instrumentation*
  • Microelectrodes*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans