Magnesium-based biodegradable microelectrodes for neural recording

Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2020 May;110:110614. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2019.110614. Epub 2020 Jan 3.


This article reports fabrication, characterization, degradation and electrical properties of biodegradable magnesium (Mg) microwires coated with two functional polymers, and the first in vivo evidence on the feasibility of Mg-based biodegradable microelectrodes for neural recording. Conductive poly(3,4‑ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) coating was first electrochemically deposited onto Mg microwire surface, and insulating biodegradable poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) was then spray-coated onto PEDOT surface to improve the overall properties of microelectrode. The assembled PGS/PEDOT-coated Mg microelectrodes showed high homogeneity in coating thickness, surface morphology and composition before and after in vivo recording. The charge storage capacity (CSC) of PGS/PEDOT-coated Mg microwire (1.72 mC/cm2) was nearly 5 times higher than the standard platinum (Pt) microwire widely used in implantable electrodes. The Mg-based microelectrode demonstrated excellent neural-recording capability and stability during in vivo multi-unit neural recordings in the auditory cortex of a mouse. Specifically, the Mg-based electrode showed clear and stable onset response, and excellent signal-to-noise ratio during spontaneous-activity recordings and three repeats of stimulus-evoked recordings at two different anatomical locations in the auditory cortex. During 10 days of immersion in artificial cerebrospinal fluid (aCSF) in vitro, PGS/PEDOT-coated Mg microelectrodes showed slower degradation and less change in impedance than PEDOT-coated Mg electrodes. The biodegradable PGS coating protected the PEDOT coating from delamination, and prolonged the mechanical integrity and electrical properties of Mg-based microelectrode. Mg-based novel microelectrodes should be further studied toward clinical translation because they can potentially eliminate the risks and costs associated with secondary surgeries for removal of failed or no longer needed electrodes.

Keywords: Biodegradable microelectrodes for neural applications; Electrochemical deposition and spray coating; Magnesium (Mg) microwires; Poly(3,4‑ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) conductive polymer; Poly(glycerol sebacate) (PGS) coating.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible*
  • Decanoates
  • Electric Conductivity*
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Glycerol / analogs & derivatives
  • Magnesium*
  • Mice
  • Microelectrodes
  • Polymers


  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Decanoates
  • Polymers
  • poly(3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene)
  • poly(glycerol-sebacate)
  • Magnesium
  • Glycerol