Decoding laminar information across deep brain structures and cortical regions is necessary in order to understand the neuronal ensembles that represent cognition and memory. Large animal models are essential for translational research due to their gyrencephalic neuroanatomy and significant white matter composition. A lack of long-length probes with appropriate stiffness allowing penetration to deeper structures with minimal damage to the neural interface is one of the major technical limitations to applying the approaches currently utilized in lower order animals to large animals. We therefore tested the performance of multichannel silicon probes of various solutions and designs that were developed specifically for large animal electrophysiology. Neurophysiological signals from dorsal hippocampus were recorded in chronically implanted awake behaving Yucatan pigs. Single units and local field potentials were analyzed to evaluate performance of given silicon probes over time. EDGE-style probes had the highest yields during intra-hippocampal recordings in pigs, making them the most suitable for chronic implantations and awake behavioral experimentation. In addition, the cross-sectional area of silicon probes was found to be a crucial determinant of silicon probe performance over time, potentially due to reduction of damage to the neural interface. Novel 64-channel EDGE-style probes tested acutely produced an optimal single unit separation and a denser sampling of the laminar structure, identifying these research silicon probes as potential candidates for chronic implantations. This study provides an analysis of multichannel silicon probes designed for large animal electrophysiology of deep laminar brain structures, and suggests that current designs are reaching the physical thresholds necessary for long-term (∼1 month) recordings with single-unit resolution.
Keywords: awake chronic recordings; laminar hippocampal electrophysiology; large animals; multichannel silicon probes; oscillations; pigs; single units.