A Novel 3D Helical Microelectrode Array for In Vitro Extracellular Action Potential Recording

Micromachines (Basel). 2022 Oct 8;13(10):1692. doi: 10.3390/mi13101692.


Recent advances in cell and tissue engineering have enabled long-term three-dimensional (3D) in vitro cultures of human-derived neuronal tissues. Analogous two-dimensional (2D) tissue cultures have been used for decades in combination with substrate integrated microelectrode arrays (MEA) for pharmacological and toxicological assessments. While the phenotypic and cytoarchitectural arguments for 3D culture are clear, 3D MEA technologies are presently inadequate. This is mostly due to the technical challenge of creating vertical electrical conduction paths (or 'traces') using standardized biocompatible materials and fabrication techniques. Here, we have circumvented that challenge by designing and fabricating a novel helical 3D MEA comprised of polyimide, amorphous silicon carbide (a-SiC), gold/titanium, and sputtered iridium oxide films (SIROF). Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) and cyclic voltammetry (CV) testing confirmed fully-fabricated MEAs should be capable of recording extracellular action potentials (EAPs) with high signal-to-noise ratios (SNR). We then seeded induced pluripotent stems cell (iPSC) sensory neurons (SNs) in a 3D collagen-based hydrogel integrated with the helical MEAs and recorded EAPs for up to 28 days in vitro from across the MEA volume. Importantly, this highly adaptable design does not intrinsically limit cell/tissue type, channel count, height, or total volume.

Keywords: 3D cell culture; 3D microelectrode; iPSC sensory neurons; microelectrode arrays.