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J Neurosci Methods. 2015 Mar 30;243:8-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2015.01.016. Epub 2015 Jan 22.

StimDuino: an Arduino-based electrophysiological stimulus isolator.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel; Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel.
2
Department of Neurobiology, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel; Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel.
3
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel; Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv 69978, Israel. Electronic address: izhakm@post.tau.ac.il.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Electrical stimulus isolator is a widely used device in electrophysiology. The timing of the stimulus application is usually automated and controlled by the external device or acquisition software; however, the intensity of the stimulus is adjusted manually. Inaccuracy, lack of reproducibility and no automation of the experimental protocol are disadvantages of the manual adjustment. To overcome these shortcomings, we developed StimDuino, an inexpensive Arduino-controlled stimulus isolator allowing highly accurate, reproducible automated setting of the stimulation current.

NEW METHOD:

The intensity of the stimulation current delivered by StimDuino is controlled by Arduino, an open-source microcontroller development platform. The automatic stimulation patterns are software-controlled and the parameters are set from Matlab-coded simple, intuitive and user-friendly graphical user interface. The software also allows remote control of the device over the network.

RESULTS:

Electrical current measurements showed that StimDuino produces the requested current output with high accuracy. In both hippocampal slice and in vivo recordings, the fEPSP measurements obtained with StimDuino and the commercial stimulus isolators showed high correlation.

COMPARISON WITH EXISTING METHODS:

Commercial stimulus isolators are manually managed, while StimDuino generates automatic stimulation patterns with increasing current intensity. The pattern is utilized for the input-output relationship analysis, necessary for assessment of excitability. In contrast to StimuDuino, not all commercial devices are capable for remote control of the parameters and stimulation process.

CONCLUSIONS:

StimDuino-generated automation of the input-output relationship assessment eliminates need for the current intensity manually adjusting, improves stimulation reproducibility, accuracy and allows on-site and remote control of the stimulation parameters.

KEYWORDS:

Arduino; Brain slice; Electrical stimulation; Electrophysiology; In vivo

PMID:
25619449
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneumeth.2015.01.016
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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