In-vivo testing of a novel wireless intraspinal microstimulation interface for restoration of motor function following spinal cord injury

Artif Organs. 2024 Mar;48(3):263-273. doi: 10.1111/aor.14562. Epub 2023 May 22.


Background: Spinal cord injury causes a drastic loss in motor and sensory function. Intraspinal microstimulation (ISMS) is an electrical stimulation method developed for restoring motor function by activating the spinal networks below the level of injury. Current ISMS technology uses fine penetrating microwires to stimulate the ventral horn of the lumbar enlargement. The penetrating wires traverse the dura mater through a transdural conduit that connects to an implantable pulse generator.

Objective: A wireless, fully intradural ISMS implant was developed to mitigate the potential complications associated with the transdural conduit, including tethering and leakage of cerebrospinal fluid.

Methods: Two wireless floating microelectrode array (WFMA) devices were implanted in the lumbar enlargement of an adult domestic pig. Voltage transients were used to assess the electrochemical stability of the interface. Manual flexion and extension movements of the spine were performed to evaluate the mechanical stability of the interface. Post-mortem 9T MRI imaging was used to confirm the location of the electrodes.

Results: The WFMA-based ISMS interface successfully evoked extension and flexion movements of the hip joint. Stimulation thresholds remained stable following manual extension and flexion of the spine.

Conclusion: The preliminary results demonstrate the surgical feasibility as well as the functionality of the proposed wireless ISMS system.

Keywords: gait recovery; intraspinal microstimulation; wireless interface.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Microelectrodes
  • Movement
  • Spinal Cord / physiology
  • Spinal Cord / surgery
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / surgery
  • Spine
  • Swine