Influence of Implantation Depth on the Performance of Intracortical Probe Recording Sites

Micromachines (Basel). 2021 Sep 27;12(10):1158. doi: 10.3390/mi12101158.


Microelectrode arrays (MEAs) enable the recording of electrical activity from cortical neurons which has implications for basic neuroscience and neuroprosthetic applications. The design space for MEA technology is extremely wide where devices may vary with respect to the number of monolithic shanks as well as placement of microelectrode sites. In the present study, we examine the differences in recording ability between two different MEA configurations: single shank (SS) and multi-shank (MS), both of which consist of 16 recording sites implanted in the rat motor cortex. We observed a significant difference in the proportion of active microelectrode sites over the 8-week indwelling period, in which SS devices exhibited a consistent ability to record activity, in contrast to the MS arrays which showed a marked decrease in activity within 2 weeks post-implantation. Furthermore, this difference was revealed to be dependent on the depth at which the microelectrode sites were located and may be mediated by anatomical heterogeneity, as well as the distribution of inhibitory neurons within the cortical layers. Our results indicate that the implantation depth of microelectrodes within the cortex needs to be considered relative to the chronic performance characterization.

Keywords: depth-dependence; microelectrode array; multi-shank; single shank; single unit yield.