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J Neural Eng. 2016 Apr;13(2):026025. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/13/2/026025. Epub 2016 Feb 29.

A silicon-based microelectrode array with a microdrive for monitoring brainstem regions of freely moving rats.

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Comparative Psychophysiology Department, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Physiology, Research Centre for Natural Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2 Magyar Tudósok Blvd., H-1117, Budapest, Hungary. MEMS Laboratory, Institute for Technical Physics and Materials Science, Centre for Energy Research, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 29-33 Konkoly Thege Miklós st., H-1121, Budapest, Hungary.



Exploring neural activity behind synchronization and time locking in brain circuits is one of the most important tasks in neuroscience. Our goal was to design and characterize a microelectrode array (MEA) system specifically for obtaining in vivo extracellular recordings from three deep-brain areas of freely moving rats, simultaneously. The target areas, the deep mesencephalic reticular-, pedunculopontine tegmental-and pontine reticular nuclei are related to the regulation of sleep-wake cycles.


The three targeted nuclei are collinear, therefore a single-shank MEA was designed in order to contact them. The silicon-based device was equipped with 3 × 4 recording sites, located according to the geometry of the brain regions. Furthermore, a microdrive was developed to allow fine actuation and post-implantation relocation of the probe. The probe was attached to a rigid printed circuit board, which was fastened to the microdrive. A flexible cable was designed in order to provide not only electronic connection between the probe and the amplifier system, but sufficient freedom for the movements of the probe as well.


The microdrive was stable enough to allow precise electrode targeting into the tissue via a single track. The microelectrodes on the probe were suitable for recording neural activity from the three targeted brainstem areas.


The system offers a robust solution to provide long-term interface between an array of precisely defined microelectrodes and deep-brain areas of a behaving rodent. The microdrive allowed us to fine-tune the probe location and easily scan through the regions of interest.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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