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J Neural Eng. 2010 Aug;7(4):046011. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/7/4/046011. Epub 2010 Jul 19.

Reduction of neurovascular damage resulting from microelectrode insertion into the cerebral cortex using in vivo two-photon mapping.

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  • 1Neural Engineering Lab, Department of Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Penetrating neural probe technologies allow investigators to record electrical signals in the brain. The implantation of probes causes acute tissue damage, partially due to vasculature disruption during probe implantation. This trauma can cause abnormal electrophysiological responses and temporary increases in neurotransmitter levels, and perpetuate chronic immune responses. A significant challenge for investigators is to examine neurovascular features below the surface of the brain in vivo. The objective of this study was to investigate localized bleeding resulting from inserting microscale neural probes into the cortex using two-photon microscopy (TPM) and to explore an approach to minimize blood vessel disruption through insertion methods and probe design. 3D TPM images of cortical neurovasculature were obtained from mice and used to select preferred insertion positions for probe insertion to reduce neurovasculature damage. There was an 82.8 +/- 14.3% reduction in neurovascular damage for probes inserted in regions devoid of major (>5 microm) sub-surface vessels. Also, the deviation of surface vessels from the vector normal to the surface as a function of depth and vessel diameter was measured and characterized. 68% of the major vessels were found to deviate less than 49 microm from their surface origin up to a depth of 500 microm. Inserting probes more than 49 microm from major surface vessels can reduce the chances of severing major sub-surface neurovasculature without using TPM.

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