In Vivo Validation of Custom-Designed Silicon-Based Microelectrode Arrays for Long-Term Neural Recording and Stimulation
ABSTRACT We developed and validated silicon-based neural probes for neural stimulating and recording in long-term implantation in the brain. The probes combine the deep reactive ion etching process and mechanical shaping of their tip region, yielding a mechanically sturdy shank with a sharpened tip to reduce insertion force into the brain and spinal cord, particularly, with multiple shanks in the same array. The arrays' insertion forces have been quantified in vitro. Five consecutive chronically-implanted devices were fully functional from 3 to 18 months. The microelectrode sites were electroplated with iridium oxide, and the charge injection capacity measurements were performed both in vitro and after implantation in the adult feline brain. The functionality of the chronic array was validated by stimulating in the cochlear nucleus and recording the evoked neuronal activity in the central nucleus of the inferior colliculus. The arrays' recording quality has also been quantified in vivo with neuronal spike activity recorded up to 566 days after implantation. Histopathology evaluation of neurons and astrocytes using immunohistochemical stains indicated minimal alterations of tissue architecture after chronic implantation.