The development of electronics capable of interfacing with the nervous system is a rapidly advancing field with applications in basic science and clinical translation. Devices containing arrays of electrodes can be used in the study of cells grown in culture or can be implanted into damaged or dysfunctional tissue to restore normal function. While devices are typically designed and used exclusively for one of these two purposes, there have been increasing efforts in developing implantable electrode arrays capable of housing cultured cells, referred to as biohybrid implants. Once implanted, the cells within these implants integrate into the tissue, serving as a mediator of the electrode-tissue interface. This biological component offers unique advantages to these implant designs, providing better tissue integration and potentially long-term stability. Herein, an overview of current research into biohybrid devices, as well as the historical background that led to their development are provided, based on the host anatomical location for which they are designed (CNS, PNS, or special senses). Finally, a summary of the key challenges of this technology and potential future research directions are presented.
Keywords: biohybrid interfaces; cell transplantation; implantable devices; nervous system injury; neural interfaces.
© 2019 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.