A new type of recording chamber with an easy-to-exchange microdrive array for chronic recordings in macaque monkeys

J Neurophysiol. 2011 Jun;105(6):3092-105. doi: 10.1152/jn.00508.2010. Epub 2011 Mar 30.


In monkeys, long-term recordings with chronically implanted microelectrodes frequently suffer from a continuously decreasing probability to record single units or even small multiunit clusters. This problem is associated with two technical limitations of the available devices: first, restrictions for electrode movement, and second, absent possibility to exchange electrodes easily on a regular basis. Permitting to adjust the recording site and to use new recording tracks with proper electrodes may avoid these problems and make chronic more similar to acute recordings. Here, we describe a novel type of implant tackling this issue. It consists of a new type of recording chamber combined with an exchangeable multielectrode array that precisely fits into it. The multielectrode array is reversibly fixed to the chamber, and within a minute it can be exchanged against another array equipped with new electrodes at the awake animal. The array allows for bidirectional movement of six electrodes for a distance of up to 12 mm. The recording chamber enables hermetical isolation of the intracranial space, resulting in long-lasting aseptic conditions and reducing dural thickening to a minimum, as confirmed by microbiological and histopathological analysis. The device has a simple design and is both easy to produce and low in cost. Functionality has been tested in primary and secondary visual cortex of three macaque monkeys over a period of up to 15 mo. The results show that even after more than a year, single and multiunit responses can be obtained with high incidence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Electrophysiology / instrumentation*
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology