A superoxide scavenging coating for improving tissue response to neural implants

Acta Biomater. 2019 Nov;99:72-83. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2019.08.032. Epub 2019 Aug 22.


The advancement of neural prostheses requires implantable neural electrodes capable of electrically stimulating or recording signals from neurons chronically. Unfortunately, the implantation injury and presence of foreign bodies lead to chronic inflammation, resulting in neuronal death in the vicinity of electrodes. A key mediator of inflammation and neuronal loss are reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS). To mitigate the effect of RONS, a superoxide dismutase mimic compound, manganese(III) meso-tetrakis-(N-(2-aminoethyl)pyridinium-2-yl) porphyrin (iSODm), was synthesized to covalently attach to the neural probe surfaces. This new compound showed high catalytic superoxide scavenging activity. In microglia cell line cultures, the iSODm coating effectively reduced superoxide production and altered expression of iNOS, NADPH oxidase, and arginase. After 1 week of implantation, iSODm coated electrodes showed significantly lower expression of markers for oxidative stress immediately adjacent to the electrode surface, as well as significantly less neurons undergoing apoptosis. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: One critical challenge in the translation of neural electrode technology to clinically viable devices for brain computer interface or deep brain stimulation applications is the chronic degradation of the device performance due to neuronal degeneration around the implants. One of the key mediators of inflammation and neuronal degeneration is reactive oxygen and nitrogen species released by injured neurons and inflammatory microglia. This research takes a biomimetic approach to synthesize a compound having similar reactivity as superoxide dismutase, which can catalytically scavenge reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, thereby reducing oxidative stress and decreasing neuronal degeneration. By immobilizing the compound covalently on the surface of neural implants, we show that the neuronal degeneration and oxidative stress around the implants is significantly reduced.

Keywords: Chronic neural recording; Inflammation; Neural electrodes; Neuronal degeneration; Reactive oxygen species.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible / chemistry*
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Inflammation
  • Male
  • Microelectrodes
  • Microglia / metabolism
  • Neural Prostheses*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / chemistry
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Oxygen / chemistry
  • Porphyrins / chemistry
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Superoxide Dismutase / chemistry
  • Superoxides / chemistry*


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Porphyrins
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Superoxides
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Oxygen