Biomimetic extracellular matrix coatings improve the chronic biocompatibility of microfabricated subdural microelectrode arrays

PLoS One. 2018 Nov 1;13(11):e0206137. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206137. eCollection 2018.


Intracranial electrodes are a vital component of implantable neurodevices, both for acute diagnostics and chronic treatment with open and closed-loop neuromodulation. Their performance is hampered by acute implantation trauma and chronic inflammation in response to implanted materials and mechanical mismatch between stiff synthetic electrodes and pulsating, natural soft host neural tissue. Flexible electronics based on thin polymer films patterned with microscale conductive features can help alleviate the mechanically induced trauma; however, this strategy alone does not mitigate inflammation at the device-tissue interface. In this study, we propose a biomimetic approach that integrates microscale extracellular matrix (ECM) coatings on microfabricated flexible subdural microelectrodes. Taking advantage of a high-throughput process employing micro-transfer molding and excimer laser micromachining, we fabricate multi-channel subdural microelectrodes primarily composed of ECM protein material and demonstrate that the electrochemical and mechanical properties match those of standard, uncoated controls. In vivo ECoG recordings in rodent brain confirm that the ECM microelectrode coatings and the protein interface do not alter signal fidelity. Astrogliotic, foreign body reaction to ECM coated devices is reduced, compared to uncoated controls, at 7 and 30 days, after subdural implantation in rat somatosensory cortex. We propose microfabricated, flexible, biomimetic electrodes as a new strategy to reduce inflammation at the device-tissue interface and improve the long-term stability of implantable subdural electrodes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomimetics*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / chemistry*
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / therapeutic use
  • Electrocorticography
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry
  • Microelectrodes*
  • Microtechnology / methods
  • Polymers / chemistry
  • Polymers / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Subdural Space / physiology


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Polymers