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Front Neuroeng. 2014 Jul 21;7:24. doi: 10.3389/fneng.2014.00024. eCollection 2014.

Acute human brain responses to intracortical microelectrode arrays: challenges and future prospects.

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Bioengineering Institute, Miguel Hernández University of Elche Elche, Spain ; CIBER-BBN Zaragoza, Spain.
School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University Tempe, AZ, USA.
Department of Neurosurgery, University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT, USA.
Department of Pathology, Hospital General Universitario Alicante, Spain.
Department of Neurosurgery, Hospital La Fe Valencia, Spain.
Department of Neurosurgery, Fundación Jimenez Díaz and Hospital Rey Juan Carlos Madrid, Spain.
Department of Bioengineering, University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT, USA.


The emerging field of neuroprosthetics is focused on the development of new therapeutic interventions that will be able to restore some lost neural function by selective electrical stimulation or by harnessing activity recorded from populations of neurons. As more and more patients benefit from these approaches, the interest in neural interfaces has grown significantly and a new generation of penetrating microelectrode arrays are providing unprecedented access to the neurons of the central nervous system (CNS). These microelectrodes have active tip dimensions that are similar in size to neurons and because they penetrate the nervous system, they provide selective access to these cells (within a few microns). However, the very long-term viability of chronically implanted microelectrodes and the capability of recording the same spiking activity over long time periods still remain to be established and confirmed in human studies. Here we review the main responses to acute implantation of microelectrode arrays, and emphasize that it will become essential to control the neural tissue damage induced by these intracortical microelectrodes in order to achieve the high clinical potentials accompanying this technology.


biocompatibility; in vivo recording; intracortical microelectrode; neural prosthesis; neurosurgery

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