A microfluidic microelectrode array for simultaneous electrophysiology, chemical stimulation, and imaging of brain slices

Lab Chip. 2013 Feb 21;13(4):527-35. doi: 10.1039/c2lc40826k.


In order to understand information processing in neural circuits, it is necessary to detect both electrical and chemical signaling with high spatial and temporal resolution. Although the primary currency of neural information processing is electrical, many of the downstream effects of the electrical signals on the circuits that generate them are dependent on activity-dependent increases in intracellular calcium concentration. It is therefore of great utility to be able to record electrical signals in neural circuits at multiple sites, while at the same time detecting optical signals from reporters of intracellular calcium levels. We describe here a microfluidic multi-electrode array (MMEA) capable of high-resolution extracellular recording from brain slices that is optically compatible with calcium imaging at single cell resolution. We show the application of the MMEA device to record waves of spontaneous activity in developing cortical slices and to perform multi-site extracellular recordings during simultaneous calcium imaging of activity. The MMEA has the unique capability to simultaneously allow focal electrical and chemical stimuli at different locations of the surface of a brain slice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Electrophysiology* / instrumentation
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Microelectrodes
  • Microfluidic Analytical Techniques* / instrumentation
  • Stimulation, Chemical