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Front Neurosci. 2016 Feb 9;10:11. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00011. eCollection 2016.

Mechanical and Biological Interactions of Implants with the Brain and Their Impact on Implant Design.

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Department of Environment, Health and Safety, ImecLeuven, Belgium; Neuroscience Research FlandersLeuven, Belgium.
LCEN3, Department of Neurology, Institute of Neuroscience, Ghent University Ghent, Belgium.


Neural prostheses have already a long history and yet the cochlear implant remains the only success story about a longterm sensory function restoration. On the other hand, neural implants for deep brain stimulation are gaining acceptance for variety of disorders including Parkinsons disease and obsessive-compulsive disorder. It is anticipated that the progress in the field has been hampered by a combination of technological and biological factors, such as the limited understanding of the longterm behavior of implants, unreliability of devices, biocompatibility of the implants among others. While the field's understanding of the cell biology of interactions at the biotic-abiotic interface has improved, relatively little attention has been paid on the mechanical factors (stress, strain), and hence on the geometry that can modulate it. This focused review summarizes the recent progress in the understanding of the mechanisms of mechanical interaction between the implants and the brain. The review gives an overview of the factors by which the implants interact acutely and chronically with the tissue: blood-brain barrier (BBB) breach, vascular damage, micromotions, diffusion etc. We propose some design constraints to be considered in future studies. Aspects of the chronic cell-implant interaction will be discussed in view of the chronic local inflammation and the ways of modulating it.


Michigan probe; Utah array; blood-brain barrier; diffusion; implantable devices; micromotions; neural prostheses

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